For enthusiasts, there is only one CPU to consider when building a PC – the latest Intel Core i7 Extreme. Intel has just updated the processor with the latest power-hungry, cash-consuming Core i7 Extreme 3970X. The processor boasts six cores, Hyper-Threading, 15MB cache, and 4 Channels of DDR3 memory. To complement the Extreme chip, a new motherboard has also been released, the DX79SR. Nicknamed “Stormville” the board supports 8 DIMMs for a total of 64GB of RAM, 3 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and full controls to support tuning and overclocking.
You can read all the details of the processor from Intel’s ARK. Its 150 watt requirement should be noted when compared to the 130 watt Core i7-3960X. While you’re upgrading, you’ll need to look into a cooling solution to handle the extra heat. Intel recommends its closed-loop water cooling RTS2011LC pump.
Interestingly, the 3970X is still a second generation Core i7, using Sandy Bridge-E and not Ivy Bridge. The processor is listed as 3.5GHz but will reach 4.0 GHz with Turbo Boost.
The processor has a MSRP of $1059. It is available from NewEgg currently.
The accompanying system board, the DX79SR, and its ATX form factor support 8 DIMMs of DDR3 2400 RAM up to 64GB. It utilizes the Intel X79 Express Chipset and features onboard audio, dual gigabit Intel NICs, 6 USB 3.0 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports (6 external ports, the rest internal headers), 4 SATA III and 4 SATA II connectors, two IEEE 1394a ports, and built-in WiFi. It also has 3x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, 2 PCI Express x1 slots, and one PCI slot.
It is available from Amazon.com and NewEgg. For more details on the board, read the DX79SR Exreme product brief (.pdf).