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Intel Hardware

Intel's New Core I7-990X Extreme Edition Tested 149

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sounds-a-little-core-nee dept.
MojoKid writes "Intel recently launched a speed bump of their flagship Extreme Edition Core i7 processor, known as the Core i7-990X. Its multiplier is unlocked and it's clocked at 3.45GHz stock speed with a Turbo Boost top-end speed of 3.73GHz. Intel claims its the fastest desktop chip on the planet; like geek tiger blood for your PC. The new Core i7-990X is also based on the 32nm Gulftown core and the performance metrics show it's easily the fastest 6-core chip for the desktop currently but of course it'll cost you as well."
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Intel's New Core I7-990X Extreme Edition Tested

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  • Tiger Blood (Score:5, Funny)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmaiWELTYl.com minus author> on Monday March 07, 2011 @10:20AM (#35405610) Journal

    This CPU will let you stand over noobs' exploded corpses.

    • This CPU will let you stand over noobs' exploded corpses.

      Indeed! In comparison to this, all other CPUs are just droopy eyed armless children.

    • by Alsee (515537)

      Yeah, seriously?

      What marketing twit at Intel was watching all the Charlie Sheen coverage on TV and thought it would be hot hip and cool to say it had Tiger Blood?

      Maybe I can get a job at Intel marketing too! Remember when Lady Gaga was all over the news for her Meat Dress? Instead of shipping CPUs in cardboard boxes they could have shipped them in Boxes Made of Meat!

      -

  • by Compaqt (1758360)

    What's a good website where you can find out what my next CPU should be, while keeping in mind:

    -power consumption
    -ease of virtualization (I've heard some chips have that disabled)

    Sorry for sounding like a noob, but it's been a while since I've been in the market for a CPU.

    • by hjf (703092)

      ark.intel.com

      Example:

      http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=42915 [intel.com]

    • Try Maximum PC's Best of the Best list. [maximumpc.com] Sometimes it's a little out of date, but it's my first stop when I'm overhauling my gaming PC.

    • Re:Help (Score:4, Funny)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Monday March 07, 2011 @10:38AM (#35405908) Homepage Journal

      Any chip with Extreme in the name should do.

      I know it came from the marketing department but calling it "Extreme Edition" is just obnoxious, especially knowing they will come out with something more "extreme" in 6 months.

    • I have a long standing dislike of Tom's hardware (www.tomshardware.com) dating back over a decade (I can't even remember why anymore), but I must admit that they update their "to-buy at a given price point" list fairly regularly. If memory serves, price per watt used and processing power per watt is also on their comparison list.

      I think all modern CPUs except the very cheapest ones (like, sub-$50) support hardware virtualization.

      • by hjf (703092)

        I think all modern CPUs except the very cheapest ones (like, sub-$50) support hardware virtualization.

        Not really. Intel likes to have a shitload of variations of the same CPU to please different customers. Sometimes a single digit in the model number means that particular processor doesn't have virtualization or whatnot.

        I think it's the pressure from computer makers like Dell. I'm guessing the home Dell models don't support HW virt. I mean, if you're doing virtualization, you probably aren't a home user. An

        • by DrXym (126579)
          I wouldn't say virtualization is a the top of a home user's requirements but anyone who is remotely computer savvy would appreciate it as an option. IMO it is essential if you want to run emulators like VirtualBox for example.

          My home PC does include it fortunately.

        • Re:Help (Score:5, Informative)

          by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Monday March 07, 2011 @11:19AM (#35406500)

          I'm a home user. I use virtualization (or I did. windows 7 is too good to bother with other OSes except for fun anymore).

          so, I just went and checked desktop cpus. Every i7 (and extreme) cpu supports VT-x, every i5 does, every i3 does. That's all current non-budget cpus. I checked out the available celeron models, and only the very cheapest (As I said earler, sub $50) lacks VT-x. I went back further, and every core 2 extreme does, almost all the core 2 quads (Except the q8200 and q8300) do. I wasn't able to find a core 2 duo on newegg that didn't have VT-x, and at that point I quit looking. Basically, long story short, you'd have to go out of your way to buy an intel cpu that doesn't have hardware virtualization now.

          • Re:Help (Score:5, Funny)

            by catmistake (814204) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:08PM (#35407336) Journal

            windows 7 is too good to bother with other OSes

            True. All other OSs should be retired immediately. Microsoft has finally perfected the OS and there is simply no valid or rational reason to even have more than that... OS and Windows 7 should now be synonymous. I think after SP3 we won't even need applications or the internet any more... its that good. And I know what I'm talking about because I've been using Windows exclusively since 98, and this, my friends, is it. So go on, put it on, Windows 7 is the last operating system you'll ever use, if you have any clue whatsoever.

            • > > windows 7 is too good to bother with other OSes

              > Microsoft has finally perfected the OS and there is simply no valid
              > or rational reason to even have more than that...

              But does it run in 640k RAM?

      • I used to find Toms a valuable resource but their site is so advertising laden now i wont go back. Was looking up a video card yesterday and EVERY TIME i changed pages i got a full-page interstitial ad. Not to mention all the keyword hover over BS and side bars full of ads too. I get it that websites cost money to run but that site is literally drowning in ads.
        • Adblock removes the majority of those for me, but the "click here to continue to tom's hardware" pages still come up. they're just blank. I hate those things since half the time they forget what page you were on/going to anyway.

      • by foobsr (693224)

        dislike of Tom's hardware ... dating back over a decade (I can't even remember why anymore)

        Probably because there were roumors that they developed a payed bias syndrome.

        CC.

      • by Mystiq (101361)
        I also have a long-standing dislike and I I do remember why. Most of it stems from the fact that there is more ad than content and Tom himself was a bit of an ass back in the day.
        • I remember, way back, him getting into some beef with Intel that got to the point where it was difficult to think that they were being objective. I'm sure this has changed by now...but I didn't go back to that site for a long time. And he really was an ass at times....although me saying that about someone else is without a doubt the pot and the kettle.
    • For features on specific intel processors generally googling the model number will brink up a link to a page on ark.intel.com (never had much luck finding these pages with search tools on intel's site) within the first few results. For performance comparisons I look at a variety of review sites, anandtech bench is especially good when you want a quick comparision between two CPUs. Not sure about features on AMD processors but I bet it's on AMDs site somewhere

      What is your budget for CPU/MB? If it's very low

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I usually check PassMark's CPU/Value website.
      http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_value_available.html [cpubenchmark.net]

      But make sure you also compare it to the absolute benchmark too:
      http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html [cpubenchmark.net]

    • How soon do you need it?

      I realise this is a gamer discussion but I'm holding out for a Quad-Core ARM CortexA15, personally. That'll be standard on ARM-based Windows8 tablets by 2013. By that time we'll have open source drivers for embedded GPUs and hopefully these things will ship with 4GB RAM. Webos will hopefully be fully open source and self hosting meaning one can have a mobile tablet / development machine that self-deploys Android and other mobile OS apps and yet is powerful enough to run eclipse

  • Worthless review (Score:4, Informative)

    by dc29A (636871) * on Monday March 07, 2011 @10:26AM (#35405720)

    No mention of the i7 2600K that is 1/3d price for pretty much the same performance minus a few very thread oriented tests.

    • No mention of the i7 2600K that is 1/3d price for pretty much the same performance minus a few very thread oriented tests.

      It does seem to get pretty hot if it lives up to its name though.

    • by ifrag (984323)
      Meh, they compared it to the 980X and other well known i7 chips though. There was also shockingly no mention of malfunctioning SATA ports either. It's an article about an extreme chip, so performance/$ is pointless, it's obviously not meant for that.
      • by MojoKid (1002251) *
        Malfunctioning SATA ports were only an issue on the Sandy Bridge platform (P67 and other x67-based chipsets). These chips run on X58 which has no SATA errata.
    • by ixidor (996844)
      one minor point. your sandy bridge is a quad, this article is about a hexa-core. that alone is a significant difference.
    • by MrNemesis (587188)

      Yeah, I really had to question Intel's logic in releasing this thing *after* the sandy bridge chips.

      I'm a 2600K owner, upgraded from the 1st gen i7 860 and the 2600K is a colossal increase in speed... and most of my cycles are spent on x264 encodes (something that scales nicely over multiple cores, although I generally limit my encodes to using only two or four threads), something the 6-core chips are even better at... but only very marginally.

      In most single and dual-threaded workloads, the 2500 and 2600 i7

      • For $300, at Microcenter, I picked up both a 2500K i5 (quad core) and a good ASUS motherboard. Then I used the windows based overclocking software for easy 4.4GHz overclocks on demand. Most of the time the computer idles at 2.somethng GHz at reduced voltage to save on electricity.
    • by MojoKid (1002251) *
      Core i7 2600K numbers have been added and are listed in the piece. Also can't agree with that broad statement you're making. In all but lightly threaded workloads, the six-core chips dominate.

      http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Intel-Core-i7990X-Extreme-Edition-Crazy-Fast-Got-Faster/?page=8 [hothardware.com]

      If you want 95% of the performance for almost half the price, go with a Core i7-970.
  • by IYagami (136831) on Monday March 07, 2011 @10:27AM (#35405726)

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/20486 [techreport.com]

    Very good (and funny) review:

    "Well, I told you I was the finest PC processor on the planet, and now I've backed it up through 16 pages and some ridiculous number of benchmarks. I don't want to put too fine a point on it, but I am probably the zenith of human technological achievement to date. Can't really think of anything that compares, off the top of my head.

    True, I'm not cheap compared to the glorious Miss Sandy B. and her overmatched competition at a third of my price or less. In the grand scheme of things, though, pretty much all desktop computer hardware is affordable. The question is: do you value your time? I'm gonna save you five minutes every time you encode a video versus some cut-rate dual core, and eventually that's gonna add up to hours of time saved over my lifetime. Even an eco-weenie on a government grant pulls in a pretty good hourly wage. In the right context, my price tag shouldn't be too hard to justify. I've given you numbers that will let you justify it in terms of power savings, too, if you're into that kind of thing."

  • by Fibe-Piper (1879824) on Monday March 07, 2011 @10:28AM (#35405762) Journal
    Call me a hater - but the idea of spending $7-800 on a CPU that will never ever make a difference in your gameplay, video editing, internet surfing, facebooking, etc... Where is the value proposition?
    • Call me a hater - but the idea of spending $7-800 on a CPU that will never ever make a difference in your gameplay, video editing, internet surfing, facebooking, etc... Where is the value proposition?

      Video conversion, CAD, data processing, compiling very complex programs, software 3d rendering. This is slashdot, I'm sure you can think of your own use cases.
      • Rough, sorta hating people for having money... :)

        I suspect it's kinda like Intel's version of the I Am Rich [wikipedia.org] web app.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Video conversion? I can already do this very well without a terribly overpriced CPU.

        Very few professionals need this level of performance and it's wasted on most of us, even those of us that are power users.

        The cost of marginal performance is just too high. Although this is how it has always been. So it's nothing new.

        • Translation: I can't think of anything to do with this hardware therefore it's useless to everyone.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            For me it's more along the lines of "why pay 3 times more for something with only 20% more performance?" Also, with the price of these chips, it would probably be cheaper to just get a dual socket motherboard, and 2 quad core CPUs. You might even end up with better performance What's better 6x3.73 GHz or 8x3.0 GHz. Simple math shows us the 8 core setup would have better performance. Plush those 2 socket motherboards usually let you plug in quite a bit more RAM.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'll admit there are uses, but they're niche. Some of the examples you just gave are places where this chip probably is not the best tool for the job. If it costs $800 more than a processor that is nearly as fast, you can just buy another computer and distribute your job over the network, and end up getting more performance for less money.

        I'm not even saying this as an AMD fanboy; it's not just Phenom II; two Core i5s also usually beat a Core i7 EE.

        You might even be able to fit 3 or 4(?) computers into th

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Video conversion, CAD, data processing, compiling very complex programs, software 3d rendering. This is slashdot, I'm sure you can think of your own use cases.

        If you are really serious about that stuff specifically, you can get significantly better performance for the same cash from some server-build options such as this 32-core server. [cpubenchmark.net]

        The trouble with using expensive consumer chips for embarrassingly parallel tasks is that they dont compete vs the low end server solutions that are at the same price point. If money is no object, then here is a 48-core high end solution [cpubenchmark.net] that will perform nearly 300% better than the best i7.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Call me a hater - but the idea of spending $7-800 on a CPU that will never ever make a difference in your gameplay, video editing, internet surfing, facebooking, etc... Where is the value proposition?

      Possibly not for the home user.

      But, I know I'm involved in a project where we're looking at having dual 8-core CPUs in each of four machines so we can get the scaling we want.

      For most home users, they've not really been at a point of having their CPU saturated in quite a while ... web surfing and Facebook are l

    • Where is the value proposition?

      I work on high-performance scientific software, and bill at about $200/hour.

      If this saves me 3 hours of software tuning for a given customer, it's already a win.

      • But for that, wouldn't you be using a dual socket workstation?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          But for that, wouldn't you be using a dual socket workstation?

          So, have a dual socket of this thing with 6 cores/socket. What's the issue?

          • The dual socket boards do not take the i7 CPUs. They take the workstation class Xeons like the x5677

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              Ah, OK. Fair enough.

              I've long since lost track of sockets/CPU combinations. They change every week or so. :-P

              • I don't pay much attention to socket/CPU combination either, it's been a long time since I did.

                One thing that hasn't changed in a long time (since the end of Pentium II, I think) is that consumer Intel chips generally can't be put into multi-socket boards, meaning that it takes Xeons to get multiple sockets. AMD has similar concepts too, if you want a multiple socket AMD system, you want the Opteron, because it's not going to go easily with an Athlon chip. The kicker of it is that the basic silicon is oft

        • But for that, wouldn't you be using a dual socket workstation?

          In general, the more cores, or higher clocks, that can be brought to bear on my problems, the better.

          My main point was that a six-core, high-clocked processor is better for my apps than a similar processor with fewer cores and/or a lower clock rate.

          Although I should add one caveat. The AVX instructions supported by Intel's Sandy Bridge processor are likely to be a big deal for many scientific apps, and possibly for some games as well. So that's one thing not going for this pre-Sandy Bridge processor.

          • I get that, but if the point is that you're doing serious work, my point is that maybe a chip that can only run in a consumer system isn't the way to go, even if it's an expensive one. Doubly so for work that requires a lot of parallel operations, where you can get more sockets and cores running. Someone suggested that this chip doesn't have a Xeon counterpart yet, which surprises me, but if that's true, then there are some cases where this is the fastest chip for the job, at least for the next three mont

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Only if you have zero costs except for the CPU. I take it your $200 per hour also pays rent / mortgage, utility bills, social life etc?
         
        With such a glaring oversight in your maths as that, I don't think I'd buy your software.

      • by ezzzD55J (697465)
        i'm interested in (getting into) your line of work. (Scientific/number crunching software.) I'd be grateful if we could chat a little about what you're up to and what it's like. Perhaps you could drop me a line? beng@few.vu.nl.
    • by erikdalen (99500)

      Why wouldn't faster processor speed make a difference in your gameplay? It certainly would for mine (maybe not $700-800 worth of difference though).

      • Make a difference sure, make a visible difference in any currently released game when going against any currently released $300 budget CPUs not likely. Early adopters of CPUs in the home market are generally just suckers, by the time anything available to home users to take advantage of the speed is out, the CPU or an equivelent will be 1/4th the price.
        • by billcopc (196330)

          You do realize us "suckers" are the ones making the comparisons and recommendations for you cheapskates, right ?

          Just because you don't get your my money's worth out of a $10k PC doesn't mean I can't. And I do, thankyouverymuch.

      • depends on the game. if you're playing at a high res (say, 1080p or higher. I play at 1920x1200) with anti-aliasing turned on, chances are you're video-card limited not cpu limited. Most video games don't really take advantage of more than 2 cores. sure the other two (or 4) may be running a thread here or there, but the majority of the processing is being done on core 0, with perhaps a significant amount on core 1, but not a whole heck of a lot going on beyond that.

        Sure you could make the argument "I have

    • by adeft (1805910)
      Obviously it goes towards being able to say "I have the best/most" Some people will even admit this is important to them.
    • I do audio recording. This processor, especially in a heavily threaded operation like running multiple plugins on multiple tracks of audio is absolutely aamzing. I'm already looking into upgrading my stuidio computer to use one of these.
    • by ixidor (996844)
      related - a year ago i bout an i7 to replace a phenom II. my dvd rip times just in handbrake for the same setting went down maybe 20-30 min. that was worth it at the time, as i was on the 3 disk plan.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      The value proposition is that you for most normal purposes can only use one computer at the time. You can get five $20,000 cars or one $100,000 Ferrari, but if you're only going to drive one I'd pick the Ferrari even though it's terrible "value" for getting from A to B. Even a fully loaded SLI rig can be had for a few thousand dollars, yes it's a lot but at the same time not crazy amounts of money.

      I know quite a few people that spend more on their hobby, to put it that way. Like a friend of mine that's extr

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Once again, the Ferrari will go a lot father towards getting you laid than the CPU will...

        Of course, if you've got a big enough penis, you wont feel the need for either of them.
    • by Alarash (746254)
      I must misunderstand your post because it seems like you don't see the point of faster, more powerful CPUs. If that's the case, I take it you've never had to run high-performance servers, have you? I work for a company that builds network test equipment, and any power gain in the CPU market is good for us. It means we can do more throughput, new TCP connection per second rate, more encryption/decryption (SSL and especially IPSec testing) and whatnot.
    • Let me guess, you have 640k of memory too?

    • by dino213b (949816)

      I use the 980x for my minecraft server - and - it's made a difference. I'm pretty sure the number of concurrent players can approach 100 without any lag or making the machine sweat. Software problems, on the other hand, are a different issue.

  • It took me a while to realize a speed bump was a good thing for a CPU...
    • by mmj638 (905944)

      I concur.

      Where I come from, a speed bump is something designed to slow you down.

      • by billcopc (196330)

        And where I come from, a "bump" makes you go faster.

        Er, yes that was a drug reference. Stay in school, kids! :)

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Where I come from, a "speed bump" is the optimal use for a lawyer.
  • by Chas (5144)

    Could he have filled the first page with more pointless meta-referencing knob-slobbery?

    Survey SAYS!

    Don't get me wrong. The rest of the article is useful. It's just personal irritation with that sort of writing style.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I like to karma whore, too. Maybe we could meet up, and, like, karma whore, together?

  • I've yet to build a rig or deal with the wondrous thermal goo, but isn't it a *terrible* idea to put magic marker on one of these chips? Looking at a Sharpie MSDS, the ink boils at 207F. O_o;

    While marking 990x on his chip may look cute for a picture, I'm picturing in a my mind a comedic gas build up and separation from the heat sink the first time he loads it.

  • Are we being set up here? I never heard of Tiger Blood before, and the Wikipedia article was created three days ago. Sounds like someone's trying to play games here...

  • /me gave a chopsaw to Intel.... here have my arm and my leg!
  • by m.dillon (147925) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:38PM (#35407810) Homepage

    Well, the i7-990x is certainly a fast processor but I don't see the point comparing it against a 965 without turbo-boost. They are effectively comparing a 3.8 GHz i7 (when it isn't running all its cpus.. that's how turbo boost works for both vendors) against a 3.4 GHz phenom II. Well Duh! The phenom ii x6 1100T black is 1/4 the price and runs 3.7 GHz out of the box in turbo boost mode, and it can be trivially and reliably overclocked to 3.8 GHz on all 6 cpus with turbo boost turned off (and to 4.0 GHz with moderately good cooling).

    Intel still has faster cpus clock for clock, but not by a whole lot and the price/performance ratio for the i7 is horrible. Expensive cpu, expensive ram... come on.

    -Matt

  • And remind me again, how many unlocked hexacore AMD chips could I own for the price of one of these? Is it still 4?

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