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Intel's Core i7-980X Six-Core Benchmarked 179

Ninjakicks writes "Although they won't hit store shelves for a few more weeks, today Intel has officially unveiled the new Core i7-980X Extreme processor. The Core i7-980X Extreme is based on Intel's 32nm Gulftown core, derived from their Nehalem architecture and sports six execution cores. The chip runs at a 3.33GHz clock frequency, that can jump up to 3.6GHz in Intel's Turbo Boost mode. This processor has a max TDP of 130W, which amazingly is the same as previous generation Core i7 quad-core CPUs. Of course, it's crazy fast too. Some may say that the majority of applications can't truly take advantage of the resources afforded by a six-core chip capable of processing up to 12 threads. However, the fact remains there are plenty of multi-threaded usage models and applications where the power of a CPU like this can be put to very good use."
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Intel's Core i7-980X Six-Core Benchmarked

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  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a il.com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:45AM (#31436800)

    I believe this is what's been holding up the Mac Pro refresh, with the top or middle Mac Pro slated to get these as an upgrade from the 4 core ones.

    I think core number is the new MHz. We're not going any faster, but we can just give you more of them, which makes quite a lot of sense. All those FCP render pipelines and encodes just got a lot shorter with th3 12 core Mac Pro.

  • by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:49AM (#31436832)

    Intel always prices their High end around $1000, never mind the fact that price/performance on those chips is horrible.

    It is the price you pay for getting the bleeding edge, AMD also has some halo models, but because they cant beat intel in performance, they cant afford to charge $1000 for their high end chips.

    As for this comming down, AMD is slated to release six-core phenoms to the desktop before summer iirc, it wont have the raw performance of this thing, but 6 cores for under 200 bucks sounds nice doesnt it?

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:57AM (#31436892) Homepage

    It is the price you pay for getting the bleeding edge, AMD also has some halo models, but because they cant beat intel in performance, they cant afford to charge $1000 for their high end chips.

    AMDs current flagship costs $195 [newegg.com] and is still a heck of a performer. I'll stick with AMD for now.

    lol, anyome remember the horribly overpriced Athlon 64 FX-55?

  • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:02AM (#31436950)

    AMD's flagship chip does indeed cost $195, but then, it's about the same speed (as the benchmarks showed) as the Core i5 750, which costs $199. AMD isn't offering better bang for you're buck, they're offering high energy use CPUs with comparable performance to intel's similarly priced CPUs.

    That Phenom II uses 30W more than the Core i5, so it'll cost you about $30 a year more to run, and be less upgradable.

  • by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:12AM (#31436996) Homepage

    AMD also has some halo models, but because they cant beat Intel in performance, they cant afford to charge $1000 for their high end chips.

    FUD, pure FUD. AMD has always been cheaper than Intel. Even back before Intel introduced the Core2 series, when the AMD K2 and Athlon series spanked everything that Intel had to offer. Heck, even back to the days when AMD first entered the mass market (80386 days IIRC), they were the less expensive product. And to date, AMD has arguably always held the performance/$$$ award. Sure, Intel has started gaining a lead (Marginal with C2 series, but significant with the i7 series) in recent times, but AMD isn't THAT far behind. And if you consider that most of the true innovations in CPU design have come from AMD (true multi-core (I mean where there are 4 physical cores on die, not 2 dual core cpus on the die), 64bit, shared L3 cache, on-die memory controller, elimination of the north bridge and hence the system bus, etc), I find it VERY funny that "It is the price you pay for getting the bleeding edge" is applied to the more expensive Intel as opposed to the innovator AMD. Now, I'm not saying that Intel hasn't innovated at all. I'm just saying that the major innovations that the i7 used to surpass the C2 series (Namely the elimination of the system bus, on-die memory controller and the tiered cache architecture) were done first by AMD...

  • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:21AM (#31437070) Homepage

    True, except for when you already have a AM2/AM2+/AM3 board, or a good supply of ddr2 ram. In that case the phenom is a drop in upgrade, versus a platform upgrade for the i5. Also keep in mind that AMD will be releasing 6-core CPUs this year too, and they will fit in any recent AM2+/AM3 board, while for the intel high end stuff, you are locked into their 'premium' 1366 socket.

    This applies to me. I just ordered AMDs 965 Phenom II to replace the Athlon 64 X2 5400+ currently in my AM2+/AM3 Gigabyte board...when the new AMD chipset is widely released with SATA6/USB3 and the price becomes reasonable, I'll order one of those motherboards. Until then, my AMD 785 chipset board will suffice. AMD has always been pretty good about making sure their sockets are versatile, and the AM2+/AM3 boards are the most versatile yet.

    plus i like rooting for the underdog

    This is also a reason why I stick with AMD. They're the only ones producing CPUs that can remotely compete with Intel in the consumer space, yet they are a MUCH smaller company. I like that.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:29AM (#31437142) Homepage

    Nice, but who has $1000 to pay on a CPU?

    Everybody that makes money off the processing power of their computers? Not many hobbyists would spend 1000$ on a camera, but photographers spends thousands. Granted, that's really a workstation market more than a consumer market, but it's not special like ECC RAM, Quatro graphics cards, SAS hard drives or similar server/niche products. If you use the right apps and get a 50% speedup it'll pay for itself in many places. Overall, I don't think it's a really expensive hobby if you want to drive around in a car costing 2000$ less and blow it all on computers. I could afford this one if I wanted to, I just don't see the point. It's so much else I could spent it on and so little extra gain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:44AM (#31437254)

    In the past the extreme chips were typically not really worth the bang/per buck increase over the mid level chips. They had more cache and were unlocked, etc but they were not = 2x the lesser chips, especially in rendering farms. Remember these are consumer chips, not server chips. Intel's new strategy is interesting. There will only be a 6 core extreme chip on the 32nm process to go beside the 4 core 45nm chips. So now there are 2 major differences between extreme and non-extreme i7s; the underlying process technology, and core number.

    I suspect Intel will keep it this way and concentrate on 32nm chips for laptops, as they are doing now, and high end desktop and servers alone. In less than a year Intel should be unveiling the "tock" cpu design, Sandybridge. At this point their focus may shift, since all factories running the 32nm process will be qualified to fab those chips, but as of now there is no indication of a high mid range consumer 6 core chip based on Nehalem.

  • by Visaris ( 553352 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:49AM (#31437296) Journal

    "and be less upgradable."

    Not true. AMD's platform is much more forward compatible. AMD chips can now run DDR2 or DDR3 depending on what board it's in (Socket AM2/AM2+/AM3). That means that new AMD chips are compatible with 3 socket generations. Intel boards have nowhere near this broad socket and memory compatibility. Even in the same socket, a new chipset is typically required by Intel for new CPUs. This allows Intel to fake that their socket+platform had a compatibility life of 6+ years, when really, it was more like 1 and a half because they released 4 different chipsets with different support in that time frame.

    If you're building your own box, or just want to upgrade later, AMD really gives you a much more flexible route. Here's an example of Intel's mess on their _current_ generation lineup: Core i7 runs on Socket 1156, while a different Core i7 runs on Socket 1366. Socket 1156 is not future-proof and will be dropped in the future. People buying those boards and CPUs might not even notice and will be s.o.l. after the very next generation. That's just silly. AMD's platform is the one with the sane upgrade path. And it's cheaper. I don't get all the AMD hate going around.

  • I just took a look at a toms hardware CPU chart ( http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-desktop-cpu-charts-update-1/Performance-Index,1407.html [tomshardware.com] ), picked out the intel CPU that came immediately above the AMD CPU you mentioned and looked up the price on newegg ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115215&cm_re=i5-750-_-19-115-215-_-Product [newegg.com] ) and it was $5 more.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:20AM (#31437772)

    Every time this comes up, someone makes the observation that most apps aren't written to take advantage of multiple cores. That is, indeed true, but unless you're running MS-DOS, there's more to it. On the average Windows and Linux desktop installations, there can easily be twenty or so processes running before you start your first end-user application, and most users tend to have more than one app running at a time. While there is no substitute for purpose-built multi-threaded programs, it's not like those six cores will be sitting idle, especially under Windows, where you could throw an entire core or two at the OS and another couple at the two or three resident antivirus/malware programs that you need to have running to compensate for Windows' broken security model.

    Granted, a lot of end-user apps spend most of their time sleeping, waiting for user input, but a sleeping process runs just as well on one core as on six. For users whose programs are actually doing something most of the time, multiple applications can take advantage of the additional cores even if they are themselves not multithreaded.

  • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:01PM (#31438750)

    Right now I'm using what must be one of the humblest CPUs on Slashdot, an Athlon XP 2500+. That's 1600 MHz of single-core 32-bit goodness. It's served me loyally for years with nary a complaint, and never missed a single day of work.

    It still does almost everything I ask of it, but sometimes does struggle to keep up with HD video. I could help it out by getting a video card that supports VDPAU, but my equally faithful motherboard only has PCI and AGP, so there's not much room for upgrade there.

    So finally it's time to retire them, and their replacements are on the way. The new kids are still pretty humble themselves, just an Athlon II X2 and a cheap AM3 motherboard. With 2GB memory, a grand total of $180. No bragging rights around here, of course, but there's nothing I'm likely to be doing for the next few years that they won't handle easily.

    But here's the thing. I should be excited about bringing in the new regime, but I really feel like I'm spending my last few days with some good old friends. Should there be some kind of ceremony? Is there a computer heaven where they'll be waiting happily for me when I reach the end of my own days, along with my old 286DX25 and AMD K2? What a joyous reunion that will be...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:08PM (#31438898)

    Well, new chips are still made over a wide range of clock speeds, so it's a bit early to throw that number away. We see chips clocked at 1.x ghz (various Atoms) up to 3.x ghz at the high end. And we see chips with 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6 cores now. But three cores at 3ghz will probably outperform four cores at 2ghz, whether the task is single threaded or multithreaded.

    Of course what I'd rather see as the center of advertisement would be two different numbers: 1) performance on some sort of standard single-threaded program, 2) performance on some sort of standard embarrassingly parallel program. That would probably require a competing chip architecture to get popular, though. The latest ARM designs might succeed, if they can continue the push from embedded to smartphone/netbook, but it's too soon to tell.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer