Sandy Bridge E 3970 to live another year
Sandy Bridge E was launched in Q4 2011 and for Intel, it looks like the enthusiast platform should last at least two years. This is definitely a slowdown from a yearly update cycle that was in effect until Ivy Bridge E, but Intel probably has a good reason for it.
Back in the fourth quarter of 2011 Intel launched the Core i7 3960X, an Extreme Edition part with six cores 3.3GHz clock speed and 3.9GHz Turbo, 15MB of cache and multithreading. The 3970 a faster version with 3.5GHz clock is schedule for launch in Q4 2012 and will extend the life of a platform for a good year.
Ivy Bridge E, a successor of this enthusiast platform is now scheduled for Q3 2013, roughly a year from today with a good chance of launching by September 2013, IDF event or around it. We also learned that Ivy Bridge E fits existing X79 motherboards and will continue to use LGA 2011 socket making it potentially an easy swap for enthusiasts and overclockers in 2013.
Many had hoped to get 22nm Ivy Bridge high performance processors in time for the 2012 holiday season, but the current plan is to offer a slight clock increase of existing Sandy Bridge E and call it Core i7 3970 and let the enthusiast wait until Q3 2013 for the new Ivy Bridge E flagship.