Intel 6950X 6900K 6850K CPU Review

Intel 6950X 6900K 6850K CPU Review


It’s always slightly curious when the motherboards for a processor get released before the actual main event, but having recently taken a look at the MSI X99A Gaming Carbon and the ASUS X99 Strix Gaming Edition, it’s finally time to get our dirty mitts on the new Broadwell-E CPUs from Intel.

Any new generation of hardware is always a met with a combination of interest – because who doesn’t like to see what counts as the new flagship products with the knowledge it will trickle down into midrange affordability within a couple of years – and trepidation. Trepidation just because any time you are completely happy with the performance of your newly built system it’s becomes easy to get disheartened at the level of performance a similar outlay would have brought you if you’d have been slightly patient. It’s the mobile phone paradox. If you wait you’ll always get the best value for your expenditure, yet eventually you have to stop waiting and make a purchase otherwise we’d all still have Voodoo graphics and Nokia 3310s.

For most of us though the top of the range Intel CPUs have been, and always will be, a dream. A lottery win. That processor we’d have if money wasn’t an object. Except, of course, it is. Thus the appearance of the Core i7-6950X with its Ten cores and Twenty threads might make – what was until yesterday – the worlds best system look like Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, for most of us it will just occupy a place on top of our wishlist.


The Broadwell-E range is made up of four new Core i7 processors, with two, the i7-68x0Ks fitting in around the Core i7-5820 level of 6/12 core/thread performance, and the top of the range i7-5960X now matched by the 8/16 Cores of the i7-6900K and the 10/20 Cores of the flagship i7-6950X sits at the top of the world like a King.

In a change to how Intel CPUs are usually released, all four versions support full multiplier and BCLK overclocking, so you don’t need to pick and choose based solely upon potential future overclocking. Equally there has been some compromise in raw clock speeds from fitting so many actual cores onto the die, as both the base and boost clocks diminish as you move from the i7-6850K into the i7-6950X. That clockspeed is offset somewhat by a staggering amount of L3 Cache on even the basic – if such a word can be used – i7-6850K.

So grab your favourite morning beverage, settle down and get comfortable, because we’ve a lot to get through.

Processor i7-6950X i7-6900K i7-6850K i7-6800K
Cores and Threads 10/20 8/16 6/12 6/12
Core Clock 3 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz
Boost Clock 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz
Process 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm
L3 Cache 25 MB 20 MB 15 MB 15 MB
Multiplier and BCLK Overclocking Yes, Full Yes, Full Yes, Full Yes, Full
Chipset X99 X99 X99 X99
Socket LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3
Memory Support 2400 MHz DDR4 2400 MHz DDR4 2400 MHz DDR4 2400 MHz DDR4
TDP 140W 140W 140W 140W


We’re not testing the lower of the four models, as the i7-6800K is the only model that has 28 PCIE3 lanes where as all of the others have 40. The PCIE limitation means in the terms of multiple graphics set ups the 6800K is no better off than a Z170 system so with such a shortdeadline we focused on the main 3 which we thought would be the best of the bunch.