Intel Core i7-5960X

More threads than a David Lynch mini-series and just as powerful

Intel Core i7-5960X

So, no, the i7-5960X isn't the gaming messiah chip we might have been hoping for.

But that isn't necessarily it for the Haswell-E platform in terms of gaming, because there is another option.

Traditionally the lower end of the Extreme range has been a quad-core, offering not much else above the standard platform, but with Haswell-E that bottom chip is a hex-core CPU costing not much more than a 4790K.

The i7-5820K could be a contender for the absolute best gaming CPU around – stay tuned for more on that one.

As it is though, the 5960X is an outstanding processor.

The last eight-core chip we saw in an Intel desktop was a pretty middling Xeon that cost £1,500; this chip is around half the price and a good deal quicker too. You still have to pay through the nose for this sort of processing power, of course, but if you think you can make good use of those 16 threads, the i7-5960X is worth every penny.

We liked

The multi-threading performance of the Core i7-5960X is quite unprecedented, as is its cool-running too. That helps us manage to push the clockspeed up on all eight cores with a little simple overclocking.

The X99 platform also gives us our first taste of the new DDR4 memory technology. Previously it's been limited to the server side, where it arguably makes more sense, but the low-power, high-performance kits we've seen so far are looking good.

We disliked

As normal for an 'Extreme' edition chip from Intel the price is seriously high. We're used to the top Core i7s costing around $1,000 (£800), but that doesn't stop it from sticking in our craws.

It's also a shame that the extra multi-threading performance doesn't really translate into any gaming boost, but that's not Intel's fault, that's down to the devs.

Verdict

The Intel Core i7-5960X is an astoundingly quick, relatively low-powered processor. It's beyond the financial reach of most of us, but we sure are glad this technology exists. It's surely only a matter of time before it trickles down.