Intel recently started sending samples of its next-generation processors, codenamed Sandy Bridge-E (The E stands for Enthusiast), to third parties for testing. Inevitably, some engineering samples of the "Intel i7 8 core" have appeared on eBay (via Xbit Labs).

This particular processor is listed with a whopping $1,359.99 price tag. The sale has been shutdown prematurely, however, and it's not clear if it was pulled by the seller or if eBay reacted due to an inquiry from Intel. It's probably the former since the latter would have resulted in the item's page being pulled completely - at the time of writing it is still up.

The eight-core chip is marked as "Intel Confidential" to mark that it is not meant for public consumption. It features Hyper-Threading technology, 20MB of L3 cache, and a clock-speed of 1.60GHz. Here are the official details the eBay user included for the item:

Processor Manufacturer: Intel
Brand: Intel
Multi-Core Technology: 8 CORES
CPU Socket Type: 2011
Platform: X79 Express
Clock Speed: 1.6 GHz
Chipset: 7 Series Panther Point
Computer Type: ES SB Q19D

The chip seems to belong to Extreme Edition or Xeon versions of Sandy Bridge E-series processors, assuming previous information that the consumer enthusiast-class processors will only feature four or six cores is correct. Alternatively, the eight-core silicon may mean that Intel is at least evaluating possibility of releasing eight-core CPUs for consumers.

Last month, leaked Intel slides revealed Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge details. According to the roadmap, the high end Sandy Bridge-E will be launched in Q4 2011 and besides targeting the super expensive $999+ segment, apparently it will also include models in premium performance P1 and P2 ranges, which are currently headed by Core i7 970 and 2600 models.