Intel has pushed the limits of it’s i7 range to introduce the replacement to the 5960X, the 6950X. Boosting the core count from 8 with 16 Hyperthreads to 10 cores and 20 Hyperthreads. Intel reckons that since the clock speed race has subsided, its time to start packing as many cores into their CPUs as possible. The new processor runs at 3GHz and turbos up to 4GHz using Intel’s new Turbo Boost 3.0 Technology, add to the mix TDP of 140W and 25MB cache and you end up with a serious all-rounder capable of very fast single threaded operations coupled with the ability to have multi-threaded rendering power of a 14 core Xeon CPU or faster than a dual 6 core CPU setup as favoured by the HPZ range.
In benchmark and real world tests the 10 core 6950X offers twice the speed of a quad-core i7 6700K when it comes to 3D rendering, and 35 percent faster than our 2015 i7x fitted with a Core i7-5960X (8 core). When it comes to editing 4K video, it’s 65 percent faster than that same quad-core chip and a 25 percent improvement over our 2015 i7x. If you have a varied daily workload while dealing with massive amounts of content on a daily basis, it could be the ideal CPU for your next PC workstation.
But we also have some other major improvements, first, Broadwell-E does bump up formal support for faster DDR4, up to DDR4-2400 instead of DDR4-2133. DDR4-3200 is already available as an option on our i-Series workstations although we will soon be offering even greater speeds for use in Maya and REDCINE-X PRO.
We now have integrated Thunderbolt support which frees up another PCIe slot in our Thunderbolt compatible workstations. We see this as a massive boost to the film and TV industry as editors and graders ditch their limited MAC PROs in favour of the flexibility that PC platforms have always offered.
If you’ve got a mixed workstation environment with both Apple and PC hardware, adding Thunderbolt support to the PC side of the equation is a useful capability — and Thunderbolt 3 is significantly faster than Thunderbolt 2, with more flexibility and raw throughput.
If you’re a workstation user who needs a 10-core CPU for less money than an equivalent Xeon might cost while rendering at 14 core speeds with the power of 4.5GHz core clock to munch through single threaded ops, then the Strongbox 2016 i7x is exactly what you’re looking for. With a 25% increase in performance over Haswell-E, lower cost, up to 128GB RAM and Thunderbolt 3 as standard, it’s a net gain if you use workloads that can benefit. If you’re using older hardware, like a Westmere or Sandy Bridge-E system or even a 12 core dual cPU system, then the option to step up to a 10-core rendering beast should look extremely attractive.