Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Review: An Overall Look at the Core i7 Family

By on March 24, 2010, 2:06 AM
Back in 2008 when we reviewed the first batch of Intel Core i7 processors, we noted that an upcoming Nehalem die-shrink would bring six core chips built using a 32nm manufacturing process. The release was expected to enhance the investment that Core i7 customers made in the LGA1366 platform by providing an even more powerful upgrade alternative.


Now, well over a year later, here we are with the first commercially available processor based on such architecture. The Core i7 980X Extreme features the same 32nm process used by the Clarkdale Core i3/i5 processors, and perhaps as exciting as it sounds to run 6 cores using HyperThreading (12 threads) is the fact that through a simple BIOS update this processor can be used on all existing X58 motherboards.

Upgrading to one of these is not going to be a cheap affair, of course. Today we've set out to compare a handful of options covering the $250, $500 and $1,000 price ranges, from the Core i7 920 to the freshly released 980X Extreme, which will give you a better idea of what to expect as you move up the LGA1366 ladder.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 10

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compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks for the review, there were a couple points that came out here that weren't present in some of the other reviews i have seen on this chip. It was interesting about the memory bandwidth being less - any thoughts on why that is the case? It didn't seem to affect performance in real life applications much at all though (or maybe it did, but the processor is just so fast it makes up for it).

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Excellent wrap-up. Impressive overclocking. I'm also interested to hear if you have any explanations on the decreased memory bandwidth.

Regardless, I have my cross-hairs on this CPU for my next major upgrade next spring. I imagine the price will have dropped by 25% or more. But will be interesting to see what AMD comes up with. A year from now a lot of things can change.

Thanks again! Good stuff....

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess Tom what you mean is hexa-cores will become more of mainstream chips.

I believe in few years' time Quad's probably will hold the entry level spectrum of market, whereas hexa-core / or above will hold mainstream/highend market. Having said that, things should become more interesting once mainstream hexa-core CPUs are launched.

For now though, its luxury beyond what you actually need, as not many applications can truly take advantage of the power this monster holds.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Archean said:

For now though, its luxury beyond what you actually need, as not many applications can truly take advantage of the power this monster holds.

That is true for single aps or gaming performance - but during heavy usage (like when i am editing a recent photo shoot) i find myself running multiple aps that can all take advantage of more then one core, and have no problem keeping a quad core at 100%. When i work on my laptop (only dual core) i can bring it to its knees in a matter of seconds. So 2 or 4 extra cores would certainly make a difference for me :-) Guess it is all a time/cost tradeoff though as to how much of the time it would help me vs how much it would cost to upgrade.

Thompson said:

A friend of mine is going to buy a six-core in a year's time, by then I expect to see quite a different market but this is certainly an impressive start. The overclocking surprised me, that's pretty amazing.

Guest said:

Great review! These things are absolute beasts and that overclocking headroom on air is amazing!

Poor old AMD, Intels core i7 is just in another league! Perhaps AMD's bulldozer now has something to really aim for. Beating the core i7 980X!

Guest said:

I read the review and must say that I have no idea what you people ar talking about. The jargon and lingo sounds so alien to my normal frame of reference. I have almost concluded that you all are making this stuff up as you go, sort of inventing terminology and shmancy words to make yourselves sound important. My windows 98 is working just as good as it was when I installed it. Why is everyone so bored with technology that they have to constantly upgrade?

Oh well,

Charles Ingram

Brightenor Beach Associates

Two Kennington Way

Brugensdorff A90-2E

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

ROFL - that was awesome guest. I was just reading a gun forum (which I know very little about) and was feeling the same exact way about what they were saying.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I read the review and must say that I have no idea what you people ar talking about. The jargon and lingo sounds so alien to my normal frame of reference. I have almost concluded that you all are making this stuff up as you go, sort of inventing terminology and shmancy words to make yourselves sound important. My windows 98 is working just as good as it was when I installed it. Why is everyone so bored with technology that they have to constantly upgrade?

Oh well,

Charles Ingram

Brightenor Beach Associates

Two Kennington Way

Brugensdorff A90-2E

HAHAHA Charles what are you doing at a tech site then? I had to stop and pause then ... Windows 98, that was before XP right? Wow what do you do with your computer? Not a great deal by the sounds of it

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Can we put it in a museum ? I mean I haven't seen an Win9x machine running in more than 10 years now.

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