Processor Core i7-6900K: not quite a flagship


Today we introduce you to the new processor of Broadwell-E family – Core i7-6900K. This is a thousand-dollar eight-core novelty for LGA2011-v3 platform, which was in many respects similar to the previous flagship processor Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition of Haswell-E generation. However, as regards the relevance of this continuity we had serious doubts.

The announcement of high-performance multi-core processors Broadwell-E was in the first place interesting for enthusiasts, engaged in multi-threaded computing. Intel has decided to bring together the older Core i7 with the Xeon processor for workstations, resulting in an older CPU model has ten cores for desktop systems. With a strong emphasis on this side of the Broadwell-E and all previous announcement, it was built. That, however, is not so surprising: no other specific improvements in Broadwell-E design have not appear, and Broadwell microarchitecture is neither new nor a clear superior compared to Haswell. As a result, most of the reviews that you can read about new solutions for LGA2011-v3 platform are solely about ten-core flagship – Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition.

At the same time, calling Core i7-6950X the most popular processor among the new products is hardly possible. Yes, ten cores are is a huge and unprecedented power even by the standards of the desktop systems, but the cost of the processor with such an arsenal, installed microprocessor giant at $1723, goes beyond all reasonable boundaries. In other words, the testing of the processor is really interesting from the standpoint of theory, but in practice it is much more important, as is the case with a capacity of more affordable options.

Yes, Core i7-6900K is not a ten-corer, but nevertheless it is also a very respectable model, with its array of eight processing cores with support for Hyper-Threading Technology. Special attention it deserves, because if we start from the performance, the Core i7-6900K is a modern replacement for previous-generation flagship of the Haswell-E, Core i7-5960X. Moreover, these processors are not also coincide in number of cores, but also the cost is similar – they both valued at an amount close to $1000, with which high-performance enthusiasts who can say, have become accustomed.


A story about any consumer processors in LGA2011-v3-performance should be started with a reminder that, in fact, this is a desktop platform rather than an independent branch of development, as an adapted version of the server platform. A version for desktop systems does not support multiprocessor configurations and there is no compatibility with the register memory, but otherwise between Broadwell-E and minor modifications series processors Broadwell-EP can be carried out very close parallels. Up to the fact that all Core i7 for LGA2011-v3 is based on the same semiconductor chip as the processor Xeon E5 v4 with the number of cores to eight.

It is therefore not surprising that, while the mass processors have long been moved to Skylake microarchitecture, the latest high-performance micro-architecture solutions are based on the previous generation – Broadwell. This is due primarily to the fact that Intel server customers need stability and support the relevance for a longer time platform than is common in desktops, resulting in the development in this area has been slowed down. But you can be fully confident in the protection of investments: for at least the next year Broadwell-E will still be fast Intel offer for PC.

The fact that Skylake microarchitecture did not hit the high-end processors for enthusiasts, in fact is no disaster. On the contrary, because of this old LGA2011-v3 platform and chipset Intel X99, presented in the summer of 2014, retained full compatibility with new products. Yes, motherboard manufacturers have seen the release of Broadwell-E as an excellent opportunity to upgrade their products, but the old board presented with Haswell-E, is also capable of working with processors like the Core i7-6900K after the firmware update. As for the performance level, the Skylake microarchitecture is not too much more efficient than Broadwell, and it is possible to say that there is not a lot that enthusiasts lose. Likewise is the case with other consumer characteristics, because the transition to 14-nm process technology that can significantly affect the efficiency and frequency potential, took place just in Broadwell generation.

All this is true for both the Core i7-6950X, and Core i7-6900K, which is under consideration in this review. After all, these two processors differ only in the number of cores and clock speeds. They are based on the same semiconductor LCC chip with the only difference being that in an eight hardware option are disabled two cores and two blocks of the cache, which is why the capacity of its cache in the third level is not 25, and 20 MB.


Processor Core i7-6900K: not quite a flagship updated: October 26, 2016 author: Darina