The hugely powerful chip is primarily aimed at hardcore PC gamers, who require peak performance while playing graphically-demanding games, reports PCWorld.
Based on Sandy Bridge micro-architecture and intended for high-end desktops, the Core i7-3960X runs at a default clock speed of 3.3GHz, rising to 3.9GHz per core depending on the performance required.
The chip is about 52% faster in video editing than the Core i7-2600K chip, said Intel, and the memory performance is up to 114% better.
Priced at $990 for 1,000 units, the Core i7-3960X will succeed the Core i7-990X Extreme Edition, which was Intel's previous fastest chip on the Westmere architecture.
It marks another salvo in the ever increasing competition for the world's fastest chips between Intel and main rival Advanced Micro Devices.
Last month, AMD launched the eight-core FX-series chips, which the company claimed broke the world performance record at 8.429GHz in a PC system.
Intel also today celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 4004, the world's first commercially available microprocessor that changed the technology industry forever.