Overall and Final Verdict
When I first got my hands on the 3960X back at its launch I was blown away by its performance. Moving on to the 3970X Intel once again kicked things up a notch. Now today with the i7-4960X they have once again upped their game. The 4960X topped the charts in almost every single test I through at it and when paired up with those two Nvidia GTX 780 GTXs it really dominated. The same things that made the original Sandy Bridge-E great are still here like their quad channel memory and the higher number of PCI Express lanes you get over a mainstream board. The main thing that sets this apart from the previous models though is the bump in performance as well as a substantially cooler running temperature under load.
The problem is a lot of people who are willing to put down almost 1k dollars on their CPU have already invested in their i7-3960X or i7-3970X, making the market for the i7-4960X a little tougher. I can’t see a lot of people who already have the 3960X or 3970X jumping up to get this, but those who picked up a low end 2011 Socket CPU at the original launch might be on the market for a CPU that is going to give them a big jump in performance without them having to go out and spend more on another motherboard after paying a good chunk of change for their X79 originally.
Considering the performance increase from Sandy Bridge-E to Ivy Bridge-E I really think the sweet spot is going to be with the 4930K with its price being almost half what the 4960X while still getting you a base clock that is only .2 less than the this model and still giving 6 cores. Hopefully we will be able to get one in to put it to the test as well in the future. So at the end of the day would I recommend the 4960X? If price isn’t an object, of course! You aren’t going to find anything that competes with it. I also stand behind the recommendation that more enthusiasts should be looking at X79 for builds due to its additional memory bandwidth and PCI Express lanes.