The folks at have gotten their hands on a sample of Intel's upcoming Gulftown Core i9 processor and put it through its paces. PCLab pitted the six-core chip against Intel's Core i5, Core i7, Core 2 Quad and AMD's Phenom II. The chip was tested in three separate motherboards, the Gigabyte EX58-Extreme, Asus Rampage II Gene, and Asus P6T SE.

Clocked at 2800MHz, the Core i9 beat the competition in a majority of the tests -- especially those optimized for multi-core chips -- but Gulftown slips behind its predecessors in many benchmarks. Intel's upcoming hexa-core CPU takes the cake when it comes to tasks like video encoding, but those two additional cores make little to no real-world difference in most games and other standard use.

PCLab found that the Core i9 performed rather well in terms of power usage, consuming far less than the Core i7 during maximum load, and only a hair more when idle. It ran cooler than the competing CPUs, with an idle temperature of 30C and 42C under load, which compares to the Core i7 at 32C and 49C. The chip also overclocked well, reaching a core clock frequency beyond 4.3GHz.

Realize that these results could change, as the tested product was only an early engineering sample. The Core i9 is expected to launch at some point during the first quarter of next year, and we will likely write review of our own when the time comes.