Reviews of the Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition "Gulftown" processor flood the web this morning. This chip is based on the 32nm Westmere architecture and is Intel's first six-core processor. At a price point of $999 it isn't really affordable, but it gives a nice preview of things to come.
Lets take a look at a couple of reviews to see how this new processing beast performs, first we head over to AnandTech and they seem pretty excited about this new processor. The performance advantage is pretty amazing, compared to the Core i7 975 you can expect performance boosts of up to 7 percent on the low end, and gains of 20 to 50 percent in applications that are heavily optimized for multithreading.
Even taking into account price, if you do any significant amount of compute intensive 3D work, video encoding or Excel modeling, the Core i7 980X is worth it. If you're the type of user who always buys the Extreme Edition knowing that you can get better bang for your buck further down the lineup, this time you're actually getting your money's worth. On the desktop, the next 12 months are fairly stagnant in terms of CPU performance improvements. We'll see a clock bump to the 980X at the beginning of 2011, but it'll be even longer before we get a replacement.
Intel continues to prove its dominance in the CPU world with the release of the Core i7-980X hexa-core processor. With 12 threads of computing power behind it the new Extreme Edition part offers computing power unrivaled by other desktop processors especially when looking at heavily threaded workloads and applications. Gaming doesn't see a big performance boost yet, though Intel assures us that more and more game engines being written are going to push multi-threaded performance benefits very soon. We are eagerly awaiting that, but while we do, we'll take solace in all the other work this processor can handle with ease.
Last but not least, we check the opinion of The Tech Report. They note the chip offers little advantage of applications that don't take advantage of more than four cores, but highly recommend it for applications like video editing, image processing, file compression/encryption, 3D rendering, folding, and scientific computing:
For the sorts of folks who buy high-end PCs, this six-core monster might just make some sense, as our performance-per-dollar value analysis made abundantly clear. If you're into some of the things we tested that did show performance gains—video editing, image processing, file compression and encryption, 3D rendering, Folding, scientific computing—then getting 50% more cores and cache at the same price, speed, and power draw as the previous model could be a heck of a deal. In fact, the deal may be good enough to prompt you to step up from one of our prior favorites, like the Core i5-750 or i7-860. We rarely recommend that folks go whole hog and purchase an Extreme edition processor like this one, but a case can be made for the Core i7-980X. Heck, I even like the 980X's stock Intel cooler pretty well, and it seems to offer some overclocking headroom.