Intel Corp.’s forthcoming six-core chip for desktops is now available for pre-order in at least one online store in Europe. The listing may point to availability of the Intel Core i7-980X chip code-named Gulftown in the short-term future.
At present Germany-based retailer Alternate is listing Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition microprocessors for sale at €1099 ($1501) for sale. The company even does not provide shipments dates, which, in fact, may point to intention to advertize itself for free, but not to offer exact products to end-users.
An early engineering sample of Intel's upcoming Core i9 chip has been spotted on eBay, way ahead of the processors' scheduled 2010 release date.
The Gulftown chip, which recently impressed in early benchmark tests, is expected to launch in the first quarter of next year, so it came as a surprise when one recently showed up on auction site eBay. The auction listing (since removed) detailed the processor as the "Intel 6-Core Xeon Westmere Gulftown 2.4GHz LGA1366 ES", and promised that the chip was tested and in working order.
On paper, the Core i9 might not sound that exciting: It's a lot like the Core i7, except built with a 32nm fabrication process and two extra cores, for a total of six. Early benchmarks, though, say it flies. Sometimes.
The i9 doesn't extract significant advantages from its pumped core count (which brings processing thread count up to 12) in a lot of day to day tasks, so don't expect to see an increase in game performance, Windows startup speed or other single-core optimized tasks. It's when you start rendering video or doing 3D modeling—tasks that are suited to parallelization—that the i9 flexes its muscles.
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