Before you go maxing out the available balance on your credit card picking up Intel's Core i7 980X processor, you may want to hang tight for a couple of months. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the Santa Clara chip maker will introduce its new flagship part, the Core i7 990X six-core chip, to the market in the first quarter of 2011.
The new part will come clocked at 3.46GHz on each of its six cores with a 3.73GHz Turbo clock. Otherwise, not much as changed -- it's still rated at 130W, supports DDR3 memory, comes equipped with 12MB of cache, and won't have any integrated graphics like those fancy Sandy Bridge parts.
Look for pricing to remain at $1,000 for Intel's flagship part, which should drive down prices on remaining Core i7 980X processors, particularly in the used market.
All the focus right now is on Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge architecture and AMD's Bulldozer cores, but hey, there's still some life left in today's architectures, too. Within the next couple of months or so, AMD will beef up its Phenom II X6 line with a couple of new additions.
On the six-core front, AMD plans to release the Phenom II X6 1100T and 1065T. The 1100T will rank as AMD's new flagship part with a clockspeed of 3.30GHz (Turbo Speed 3.70GHz), 9MB of cache, and a 125W TDP.
The 1065T, on the other hand, will sit about halfway down AMD's hexacore totem pole, but will be the fastest six-core part with a 95W TDP. It will come clocked at 2.90GHz (Turbo Speed 3.40GHz) and also contain 9MB of cache.
Both of these processors take aim at the high performance crowd, while a new flagship quad-core chip is also in the works.
Enthusiasts with deep pockets will have another six-core Extreme Edition processor from Intel to line their rigs with, but not until the first quarter of 2011. That's when Intel will reportedly drop its upcoming Core i7 990X processor into the high-end market.
There won't be any big surprises here. The 990X is essentially a faster clocked Gulftown, which means it won't come built around Intel's 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture. According to reports, the 990X will come clocked at 3.46GHz with a Turbo clockspeed of 3.73GHz. Compare that to the 980X, Intel's current flagship processor clocked at 3.33GHz with a Turbo frequency of 3.6GHz.
Like all Extreme Edition CPUs, the 990X will ship with an unlocked multiplier. Other familiar features/specs include a tri-channel memory controller and 130W TDP.
No concrete release date has yet been set, only that it will ship sometime in the first quarter of 2011 for $1,000. And if Fudzilla's info is correct, there won't be any other six-core parts from Intel before then.
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?
The film Predators opened in theaters over the weekend, and as was the case with several other flicks proceed by Robert Rodriquez -- Shorts, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Planet Terror, Sin City -- it was AMD hardware that brought the special effects to life.
In this case, Troublemaker Studios tapped into AMD's six-core Opteron processors and ATI FirePro graphics cards, and specifically the V8800 iteration. Representing the flagship GPU in the FirePro Vxxx line, the V8800 comes with 1600 stream processors, a 256-bit memory interface, 2GB of GDDR5, and all the modern standards you would expect, such as DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.2, and Shader Model 5.0.
Six digital artists comprised the core Predators production team. According to Charlie Boswell, AMD's Direct of Digital Media and Entertainment, the AMD-powered workstations allowed the Predators team to render scenes in real-time at resolutions of up to 4,096 x 2,160.
Forget about how the actual performance stands up, if we're judging chips based solely on how many cores they're packing, then AMD stands alone in the budget and mid-range territories. Intel's lowest priced six core processor is also its most expensive (Core i7 980X Extreme Edition), while you can head over to Walmart and pick up an entire system built around AMD's lowest cost six-core chip for less.
Given that AMD owns the low-cost six-core market right now, the company can afford to sit on its laurels and see how Intel responds, but it's not going to. Instead, the Santa Clara chip maker is planning yet another low-cost Phenom II X6 processor, the 1045T.
The 1045T will come clocked at 2.7GHz. That's 100MHz faster than the 1035T in Walmart's blue light special, which will soon be obsolete. With the introduction of the 1045T, AMD will kill off the slower 1035T in the third quarter.
Other specs should look familiar to anyone who's been following AMD's foray into six-core territory. Built around the company's 45nm Thuban core, the 1045T will support DDR3-1333 memory, come with 9MB of cache, and overclock to 3.2GHz via Turbo Cool technology.
If you're planning on building a system around AMD's six-core Phenom II X6 platform, you may want to sit tight for a few days and see how things shake out. In exchange for your patience, you might be rewarded with a more power-friendly chip than you were anticipating. Or not.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, AMD is prepping a slightly revised Phenom II X6 1055T processor. What's curious about this is Fudzilla says the new part will use the same E0 stepping as the current 1055T part, but come spec'd at 95W TDP instead of 125W TDP.
There aren't any U.S. vendors showing the new part just yet, though one was spotted at this German vendor's website. According to the listing, all the other specs remain the same, including 2.8GHz clockspeed, 6MB shared cache, and 4.0GT/s Hypertransport.
This isn't the first time we've seen AMD fight back against Intel by releasing low-cost alternatives to Intel's pricier parts (how many of you have fond memories of owning a Barton platform?), and as expected, AMD's six-core processors are flying off of store shelves.
Sales have been so well that AMD is having trouble keeping up with demand. As such, the Sunnyvale chip maker is cautioning vendors about placing orders, DigiTimes says.
Not just six-core chips are affected, either. The increased demand also applies to sales of 800-series motherboards, mobo makers say, and could impact pricing. Citing un-named sources, DigiTimes says AMD has decided to postpone the launch of its SB810 southbridge and will continue to sell the SB850 at a higher price.
When we think of high end gaming machines, Intel's Xeon processors aren't the first chips that come to mind, but that doesn't mean we'd turn our noses up at a monster setup with not one, but two six-core Xeon 5600 chips. That's exactly what AVADirect delivers in its new custom hybrid gaming system / workstation setup built for both work and play.
If you don't need quite that level of performance, you can drop down to a mere quad-core Xeon chip, but where's the fun in that? As with most boutique system builders, you can choose from a wide variety of components, including up to 48GB of DDR3 memory, up to FOUR freaking graphics, oodles of SSD and HDD options configurable in a RAID array, and just about everything else you can imagine. For a fee, AVADirect will go the extra mile however little or much you wish, including GPU overclocking, sound dampening your setup, slapping on a custom paint job, and spiral wrapping or looming custom colored cables.
All of these hardware options come jammed into an EVGA SR2 motherboard with support for SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0, and the whole thing is shoved into a Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P80 tower chassis, which are about the only two components that can't be swapped.
Boutique system vendor Maingear is hoping to capitalize on AMD's low-priced 6-core Phenom II X6 processor line by releasing a pair of modestly priced gaming PCs built around the new platform. It's called the VYBE Limited Edition and it comes in two baseline configurations.
The first one sells for $999 and comes built around AMD's Phenom II X6 1055T processor, the lesser of AMD's two chips. Maingear couples the CPU with AMD's new 890GX chipset, which boasts support for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. Other features include a Radeon HD 5670 videocard, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 640GB hard drive, DVD burner, 500W power supply, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
For $300 more, Maingear bumps the processor up to a 1090T (3.2GHz). Other upgrades include a Radeon HD 5830 videocard and 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory, otherwise the specs remain the same.