Intel has finally lifted the NDA veil off its latest Haswell-E High-End Desktop (HEDT) Platform which includes the three new Haswell-E socket LGA2011-3 CPUs as well as the all new Intel X99 Express chipset which brings a couple of new features as well as the support for the new DDR4 memory. The lifting of the NDA triggered a massive review launch on tech sites all around the world.
As noted, Intel has now officially launched an update to its aging Ivy Bridge-E lineup with three new Haswell-E SKUs as well as the new Intel X99 Express chipset, a first consumer chipset with support for DDR4 memory. The new Haswell-E CPUs also brought a whole new LGA2011-3 CPU socket which is not backwards compatible.
The Haswell-E lineup includes three new Intel Core i7-5000 series models starting off with the US $999 priced flagship, the Core i7-5960X. This eight core CPU with support for Hyper-threading has a total of 20MB of cache, features 40 PCI-Express lanes, has quad-channel DDR4-2133 controller, 140W TDP and works at 3.0GHz base and 3.5GHz Turbo frequencies. The next in line is the Core i7-5930, a six core part with Hyper-threading and 15MB of total cache, same 140W TDP, US $583 price tag, same 40 PCI-Express lanes and 3.5GHz base and 3.7GHz Turbo frequencies.
The "entry-level" Core i7-5820K Haswell-E is a six-core part with Hyper-threading support, 15MB of total cache, same 140W TDP, US $389 price tag, 28 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes and 3.3GHz base and 3.6GHz Turbo frequencies.
Alongside the new CPUs, Intel has also released a "recommended" TS13X liquid cooling solution for Haswell-E CPUs, which is pretty much the same cooling solution suggest by Intel for Ivy Bridge-E CPUs.
In addition to the new Haswell-E CPUs, the big part of the Haswell-E HEDT platform is the new Intel X99 Express chipset, which is the first consumer platform to bring support for DDR4 memory. Depending on the CPU, Intel's X99 chipset will offer either x16/x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 on a 40 lane PCI-Express CPU or x16/x8/x4 on the 28 lane PCI-Express CPU. The X99 chipset also brings ten SATA 6Gbps ports, fourteen USB ports (six USB 3.0 and eight USB 2.0 ports), support for quad-channel DDR4-2133 memory, as well as support for Thunderbolt and BLCK overclock from chipset.
Intel does not have any competition in this high-end part of the market and it is pretty much competing with itself and older Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E parts.
Most sites that have reviewed either the flagship Core i7-5960X CPU or the entire Haswell-E lineup pretty much agree that these are the fastest CPUs that money can buy and justify the upgrade, at least when it comes to non-gaming performance in scenarios like video encoding, image processing and similar CPU intensive applications. The gaming performance on the other hand is a different story as when it comes to gaming even the cheapest Haswell-E CPU is still good and CPUs like the Core i7-4790K, still give the best value for gaming.
The Intel Haswell-E HEDT platform is certainly a game changer when it comes to performance but nothing spectacular compared to the last generation. In case you have deep pockets and need top notch performance, the Haswell-E platform is certainly the way to go, but those looking to get best value for money, especially in gaming, should definitely look elsewhere or stick to the previous generation.