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Oct 17, 2011

Intel Sandy Bridge-E CPUs Are 'Almost' PCI Express 3.0 Compatible

One of the main features that Intel planned to introduce with its upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors was the support for PCI Express 3.0, but now the Santa Clara chip maker has decided not to market this feature as it wasn't properly tested for compliancy with PCIe 3.0 devices.

Intel hopes that in this way it won't have to address any compatibility issues that may arise when the CPUs will be used together with PCI Express 3.0 add-on cards.

According to the information supplied by SweClockers, PCIe Gen 3 is however supported by Sandy Bridge-E at the silicon level, so there is a strong chance that users will actually be able to acticvate this (unofficial) feature when installing the CPUs in an PCI Express 3.0 compliant motherboard.

Almost all LGA 2011 boards spotted until now, including the EVGA X79 Classified we covered a bit earlier today, feature support for this new interface, so at least as motherboard makers are concerned, PCI Express 3.0 shouldn't be a problem.

Compared to PCIe 2.0, the third revision of the PCI Express doubles the bandwidth available to devices using it, from 500MB/s per lane in each direction to 1GB/s per lane in each direction.

This means that, a PCI Express x16 Gen 3 slot can provide a total bandwidth of 32GB/s, compared to the 16GB/s available to a similar Gen 2 slot.

According to the latest information to hit the Web, Intel's first Sandy Bridge-E processors will launch in mid-November.

The initial release will include three chips belonging to the Core i7 product line, the mot powerful of these being the Core i7-3960X, which is actually an Extreme Edition part.

This Intel CPU packs six processing cores with HyperThreading support that have a base frequency of 3.30GHz and a maximum clock speed of 3.9GHz (in Turbo mode), and are backed by 15MB of Level 3 cache memory.


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