A lot can happen in the span of one year in the technology world. If we were to rewind the clock 12 months, we'd still be looking ahead to AMD's recently launched Llano desktop APUs, LulzSec would't be on anyone's radar, News Corp. would still own MySpace, and you'd still be able to play real-money poker on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. That's how quickly the technology world spins, so it's not all that surprising to see Intel retire four processors that are only a year old.
Let's start off with the good news. Intel's newest six-core chip, the Core i7 970, has started showing up in retail, giving DIY system builders a lower priced option to choose from if sticking with Intel. Ready for the bad news? The price isn't all that much lower.
Newegg is selling the Core i7 970 for $900, just $100 less than the Core i7 980X Extreme Edition. That isn't much of a savings, but then again, you're not giving up a whole lot in terms of specs, either. The new 970 comes clocked at 3.2GHz compared to 3.33GHz on the 980X, and it doesn't have an unlocked multiplier. Otherwise, both chips sport 12MB of L3 cache, a 32nm manufacturing process, 6.4GT/s QPI, a 130W TDP, and of course six processor cores.
Will the hundred dollar price break matter? We have our doubts, and Intel could have made the 970 a more compelling option by pricing it at $750 or $800. As it stands, the decision to roll six-core comes down to paying a hefty premium for unrivaled performance (Intel), or saving a bundle for a less potent architecture (AMD).
Anyone feel compelled by the Core i7 970's price point?
Here's hoping AMD stays around for a long, long time. Why? Because even if the No. 2 chip maker can't seem to compete at the high end, it can at least put pressure on Intel to release high-octane parts at lower price points. Let us explain.
We've known for some time that Intel plans to reward X58 owners with a six-core Gulftown upgrade, which is great. But what's not so groovy is that the upcoming Core i7 980X -- planned for a March release -- will likely run $1,000 or more, leaving six-core computing to the wealthy and/or seriously committed.
Then last week came the announcement that AMD was readying no less than three six-core chips of its own under its new Phenom II x6 1000T series this May. And maybe this has nothing to do with anything, but it's at least curious that we're now learning of a second six-core chip from Intel, the Core i7 970.
According to Fudzilla, the chip is real, and it's not an extreme version, and so it won't carry an extreme price tag. The Core i7 970 will come clocked at 3.2GHz with 12 hyperthreading cores, along with a 6.4GB/s QPI. Toss turbo overclocking into the mix, and the 970 will sometimes race along at 3.46MHz.
Look for the Core i7 970 to ship in the third quarter of this year, and while we don't expect it to be cheap, it should end up running a good chunk less than the 980X.