Many of the best things come by way of what can be referred to as “happy coincidence”. Frankly, I have no idea where the phrase came from or who coined it, but it is a very illustrative two words. When Wilhelm Roentgen began studying the effects of electrical discharges passing through vacuum tubes, his pursuits were purely electrical experimentation, and had nothing to do with medicine. The fact that his experiments resulted in his discovering the X-Ray were nothing but a “happy coincidence”. The Kellogg brothers were simply attempting to make a pot of boiled grain, and not a food staple, when they accidentally left a pot of boiled grain on the stove for several days. The resulting Corn Flakes and the mammoth industry it helped pioneer were nothing more than “happy coincidence”.
When Intel designed their Extreme series CPUs, it was to bring excessive number crunching computational power to the professional workstation. Heavy Excel, transcodes and multithreaded apps show huge gains from Intel’s Ivy Bridge-E and its computation abilities. This would seem to be the opposite of what an enthusiast gamer is looking for. But dig deeper, and we find that these Ivy Bridge-E CPUs bring more to the table. The fact that when paired with the latest nVidia GPUs makes the most formidable gamer around can simply be chalked up to “happy coincidence”.
So what is it that makes the nVidia/Ivy Bridge-E this perfect storm of gaming? Well, to start with, nVidia’s new GTX 7XX series is pumping out frame rates we have never seen before, and is doing it at higher resolutions and detail settings. Then there is the brute computational power of the Ivy Bridge-E which handles physics heavy games with greater ease and efficiency. Ivy Bridge-E has also has architectural advantages for the GPU. To start, it ups PCIe lanes to 40 over the 16 seen in Haswell/Ivy Bridge/Sandy Bridge. With this advantage, SLI setups are not stepped down to 8x/8x and can operate at 16x/16x to reduce risk of bottlenecking. Ivy Bridge-E also brings full PCIe 3.0 compliance. With this arsenal of features, one can only expect incredible results when a GTX 780 is dropped into the mix.