Pricing and Final Thoughts
There is no doubt in our minds that the Core i7 is a worthy successor of what was one of Intels greatest processor series yet. Already the Core i7 has proven to be extremely powerful, as it easily put away the Core 2 Quad Q9650 in almost every test we ran.
The Core i7 processors were simply stunning when encoding with AutoMKV, making otherwise impressive processors such as the Phenom X4 9950 look a decade old. The same level of outstanding performance was displayed in Adobe Premier and After Effects, while those that rely on Microsoft Excel for forecasting and complex calculations will also enjoy what the Core i7 has to offer.
We were pleased to see that the slowest processor in the Core i7 range (920) was able to defeat over and over the Core 2 Quad Q9650 which runs at a higher clock speed (3GHz) and before this day was one of the best CPUs money could buy.
Helping to make all this amazing performance possible is the on-die memory controller, along with Intels new QPI technology. While we have been unable to test the triple-channel performance of DDR3-1333 or faster memory, this is certainly something we are very keen to test in the near future.
Initially building a new Core i7 system is not going to be a cheap affair, though the Core i7 920 processor itself should only cost around $284 (quoted batch price per 1000 units). Still, if this is the case, the Core i7 920 will be coming in cheaper than the Core 2 Duo E6600 when it was first released. The Core i7 940 is expected to cost considerably more at $562, while the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition will set you back a smooth $999, which was the release price of the Core 2 Extreme X6800.
While the Core i7 920 might not be too bad with its sub-$300 price tag, we don't expect X58-based motherboards to be all that affordable. DDR3 pricing has fallen considerably over the past few months, and we expect triple-channel kits to come in at around $100. So all up it should be possible to buy the guts of a Core i7 920 system for around $600, which is quite good given the insane level of performance it offers.
Overall the new Core i7 architecture has certainly impressed us, living up to all expectations. The future continues to look bright for Intel as we expect many more processors based on the Bloomfield core to be released, while the prospect of 32nm Westmere processors by 2010 has got us licking our lips. If we can make one prediction is that you won't regret investing money in the new Intel LGA1366 platform.