If you look hard enough, you can find a handful of Polish computer shops selling Intel's upcoming Core i7 990X Extreme Edition processor online. Pricing starts at around €900 (US$1,240) and goes up from there.
Intel hasn't yet officially launched this latest Gulftown part, though some OEMs already have it as a configurable option. The Core i7 990X will take its place as Intel's newest flagship part with six cores operating at 3.46GHz (3.6GHz via Turbo Boost). Other specs include 256KB of L2 cache for each core, 12MB of L3 cache, and a 130W TDP.
The 990X also represents the end of the road for Gulftown, which Intel will replace with Sandy Bridge E silicon in the third quarter, Fudzilla says.
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?
Update: Last chance to enter! We're drawing the winner this afternoon!
Spring is in the air, and you know what that means. Flowers blooming? Birds singing? Romance in the air? No way. This is Maximum PC, and we celebrate the vernal equinox the same way the ancient druids did: by giving away one bad-ass gaming PC. That's right, we're going to give one lucky reader a $3000 gaming rig from iBUYPOWER, sporting Intel's blistering-fast 6-core Gulftown i7 CPU.
To get your name into the random drawing, you'll need to follow us on Twitter and retweet this message. We'll pick a winner with a random drawing on Monday, April 5, 2010.
Seven more of your Earth-days have passed, which means it's time for another No BS Podcast. This time, the gang talks about Intel's 6-core Gulftown processor, Steam for Macs, and Ubi's new DRM. The Star Destroyer vs Enterprise font springs eternal, as we take a number of your calls about this pressing issue. Finally, Gordon tells us all what he thinks about the new A-Team, and why it's not alright to say "brah."
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Digital Storm becomes the latest boutique OEM to dance with Intel's 6-core Core i7 980X Extreme Edition processor. It's available in the company's high-end Black|OPS machine, which starts off at $5,642.
"The introduction of a six-core processor hyper threading capabilities is a momentous occasion for gaming enthusiasts," remarked Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm's Director of Product Development. "With our TwisterBoost overclocking package, we can overclock the i7-980X to a record breaking 4.4GHz. The results we've recorded on our test bench have been nothing short of astounding. I can honestly say that our Black OPS machines with this new CPU resulted in the most impressive gaming experience I've ever had."
So what else do you get for that kind of hefty investment? The other baseline specs include a 500GB hard drive with 16MB of cache, DVD burner, a pair of HD 5970 videocards, 6GB of DDR3-1600MHz RAM, EVGA X58 Classified motherboard, a 1200W PSU, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Kind of a quirky mix, though you're free to custom tailor the parts, assuming you have the wallet to accommodate and a penchant for buying pre-built.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts aren't the only ones stoked about Intel's latest 6-core monster, boutique system builders want in on the action too. Among them is CyberPower, who today announced that all of its high-end gaming rigs are getting the Gulftown treatment.
"Intel's Gulftown will enable you to crush the most intense 3D games and applications with ease," CyberPower said. "CyberPower's top of the line Black Pearl, Gamer Xtreme 3D, and Fang Series Black Mamba gaming systems will all be powered by Intel's 6-core monster. Additionally, CyberPower will integrate the Core i7-980X option across its entire X58 line of systems giving you the power of the Gulftown processor with your dream configuration."
As a refresher, Intel's Core i7-980X Extreme Edition chips bring to the table six processing cores clocked at 3.33GHz, and 12 threads when enabling HyperThreading. The chip runs about $1,000 retail, or a $720 upgrade over the Core i7-930 when configuring a gaming system through CyberPower.
Meet the world’s fastest CPU. OK, so we just gave away the big reveal to our report before you even flipped one page, and without so much as the common courtesy of a spoiler alert. For that, we do not apologize, because it’s not like you couldn’t have guessed how this one would end up. After all, Intel’s new 3.33GHz Core i7-980X builds on all the goodness of the ass-kicking quad-core 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition, but is smaller, cooler, and has an additional two cores under its heat spreader. With Hyper-Threading enabled, that’s a cool 12 threads at the ready. How could anyone screw that one up?
In fact, Intel’s Core i7-980X seems to be one of the most flawless launches we’ve seen from the company in some time. By flawless, we mean there are no contortionist acts, such as explaining to consumers that a new socket (LGA1156) will have the same CPU branding as an incompatible existing socket. Nor is there the head-scratcher of a very novel, yet very limp, integrated graphics chip in a CPU (Clarkdale), which, by the way, won’t work in boards that lack graphics output ports.
With Core i7-980X, you update your BIOS, drop the chip in, and—voilà—you spend hours rocking a six-core high. Put simply, Core i7-980X is 24-ounces of prime-rib red meat for performance enthusiasts who really haven’t had much to gnaw on since the original 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition came out two years ago.
So we’re done, right? You don’t need to read on? Sorry, there’s still more to learn. If you want to know if your motherboard works with the new chip, what applications can really exploit the six cores, and how this bad boy performs, you’ll have to keep reading.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, socket 1366 owners won't have to wait too terribly long before being able to step up to six cores, though at $999, the flagship chip won't come cheap.
Fudzilla says Intel will start shipping its upcoming Core i7 980X in March, which will be Intel's first six-core part developed in 32nm Westmere architecture. It will sport the same 3.33GHz frequency as the quad-core Core i7 975, as well as the same Turbo clock. And once again, official triple-channel memory support will be limited to 1066MHz.
Other specs include 12MB of cache, 6.4GB/s QPI, 12 threads via Hyperthreading, and a 130W TDP.
It will be awhile before Intel releases its upcoming 6-core Core i9 chip, codenamed Gulftown, to the general public, but that doesn't mean you can't get your hands on one sooner. The question is, should you even try?
Engineering samples -- which are pre-release chips primarily intended for reviewers and may or may not sport the same features as the final product -- have already started shipping, and at least one of those chips has made it onto eBay. The chip sold for $1,200, but the cost to the seller be even higher.
All Gulftown chips are bound a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and technically speaking, ES chips aren't supposed to be sold or traded. In reality, it happens all the time, but selling a pre-release part this early in the game is sure to burn a bridge with Intel, especially since the seller didn't bother to blur out any identification marks, making it super easy for Intel to track the chip.
Getting bored with Core i7 already? That's okay, because word on the web is that Intel plans to release its six-core Gulftown processor sometime in the first half of 2010, and possibly by Q1.
What's believed to be the first product shots of the six-core part have been leaked to the web. Likely to be called Core i9, the pictures show off the new chips in a dual-socket motherboard that's either an existing Xeon-based socket LGA1366 mobo or a next-gen Skulltrail platform. Either way, that's 12 cores of processing power, and 24 cores with hyperthreading enabled.
According the alleged screen grabs, the engineering sample spied in the photos comes clocked at 2.4GHz courtesy of a 133MHz bus speed and 18X multiplier, along with 12MB of L3 cache.