Even though Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge-E CPUs will be able to deliver better performances than their LGA 1366 counterparts, the Santa Clara company has managed to keep the power consumption of the chips constant, since these will carry the same 130W TDP as their predecessors. The processors are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year and the initial batch will be comprised out of three new SKUs. Two of these will feature six computing cores and 15MB or 12MB of Level 3 cache memory, while the third packs a quad-core design and “just” 10MB of L3 cache. The clock speeds of the two six-core CPUs are set at 3.3GHz and 3.2GHz respectively and the quad-core chip operates at 3.6GHz. TDP is estimated at 130W, at least for the two six-core models. In comparison, Intel's fastest LGA 1366 processor to date, the Core i7-990X, features six processing cores, works at 3.46GHz, packs 12MB of L3 cache and features a similar 130W TDP. This means that the two series of processors should perform similarly as far as their power consumption and thermal characteristics are concerned, although the two architectures are significantly different. Compared to their Westmere-EP counterparts, the Sandy Bridge-E chips integrate more hardware logic on their silicon die, including a PCI Express 3.0 controller, that features 40 PCIe lanes, and an advanced four-channel memory controller. In addition, the Sandy Bridge architecture also brings support for the AVX instruction set and the Turbo Core 2.0 technology. All Sandy Bridge-E chips are compatible with LGA 2011 socket motherboards based on the X79 Express chipset, which features 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, a DMI 2.0 interface, and an additional eight-lane PCI-Express 2.0 hub.