The new Sandy Bridge-E based 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family CPUs and the X79 motherboards make up the foundation of Intel's new platform geared towards enthusiasts. Sandy Bridge-E features a quad channel memory controller with the ability to run up to 64GB of memory. The memory controller also supports up to DDR3-1600 natively. There were also improvements made to improve overclocking as well. The socket has been changed to 2011 pins to support quad channel memory as well as more PCI-E lanes.
For this build I am using the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with the Intel Core i7 3960 Extreme Edition processor. As you can see below the new 2011 Socket is very different than the previous 1366 socket and 1155 sockets.
First the clip on the further side is unlatched which will allow the near side clip to unlatch. After the second clip is unlatched pushing down on the first clip will lift the socket bracket.
You can then lift up the top of the socket and install the CPU. After the CPU is installed in the socket you can close the near side clip first and then the far side clip.
With the CPU installed the hardware for the Hydro Series™ H100 CPU cooler can be installed to the motherboard. To help you out, I wrote another article that will guide you through the process of on mounting your Hydro Series cooler to the 2011 socket.
For the memory I am using a Dominator® GT quad channel DDR3 memory kit (CMT32GX3M4X1866C9). This kit is a 4x8GB kit that runs at 1866MHz and uses XMP 1.3.
Since these modules also support the AirFlow Pro™, I decided to install one on each side of the processor. Since the memory slots closer to the rear of the case are upside down I extended the cables that connect the Airflow Pro to the memory. You can read about how to extend the cables for the Airflow Pro in a different blog post..
With the modules and AirFlow Pro installed, I installed the motherboard into the Obsidian Series® 650D case.
Next I mounted the H100 to the top of the case and put the cooling unit on the CPU.
With the CPU cooler installed, I then moved on to installing the two Force GT 120GB SSDs.
Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX580s were installed in SLI using the motherboard's two x16 ports. One advantage to the Sandy Bridge-E architecture is the support for 40 PCI-E lanes.
Powering everything is the Professional Series™ Gold AX1200 PSU.
With all the power connections made, the cabling was cleaned up with some zip ties.
It's been three years since Intel released the X58 platform, which up until now has been the reigning enthusiast platform. The Sandy Bridge-E platform takes over as the new enthusiast platform for at least the next couple of years.
Check out the dual Airflow Pros in action below: