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Intel Hexacore Gulftown to be Core i7 980X EE

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments

The mighty Gulftown will be one of the Core i7 boys.

Along with the revamped Nehalem-based Westmere chips, Intel will be bringing a hexacore variant codenamed Gulftown.

Many figured that this new class of desktop chip with its six cores and twelve threads would put it in a class that Intel would see fit to name Core i9 – but if leaked Intel slides are to be believed, Intel is keeping it within the Core i7 family.

Chinese website PCOnline shows a slide that clearly describes an Intel Core i7-980X Processor Extreme Edition as one built on a 32nm process with 12MB Intel Smart Cache and a 130W TDP.

While this leaves some of us wondering what, if anything, Intel will slot into a possible Core i9 class, the positive side is that Intel won't have to print up a whole different set of system badge stickers for the new Gulftown CPU.

This is just the latest in a string of Gulftown leaks. Last month, a Polish website got its hands on an engineering sample and put the chip through its (quick) paces.

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  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 16 December 2009 14:56
    Or they want to make their naming system even more retarded. Great...
  • 0 Hide
    AW-Levi , 16 December 2009 17:01
    If they consider this as part of the i7 family than it seems that the i9 family definitely be something faster and much stronger.
    Since its not on the market this is not sure.
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 16 December 2009 18:32
    Secretly leaked? Sure ;)  I'd say it's more like propaganda.

    Nice to see LGA1366 having a bit of longevity..it looks like Intel is taking a leaf out of AMD's book in terms of not abandoning it's support base.

    However it seems it's not all roses..

    . 130W TDP on a 32nm process.

    . 6 physical cores..I reckon AMD could possibly do 8 by that time, using a similar manufacturing process.

    . They are general-purpose i86 cores, at a time when GPGPU software is growing in popularity. Intel does not seem to be in a strong position in that respect, either with IGP solutions or discrete logic. Even with 6 physical cores + 6 threading units chugging away, I doubt the 980X EE would be able to get anywhere near GPGPU code even with a higher instructions-per-clock count than what is currently available. The GPGPU stuff will have matured even further (and smaller), by that time and you can already offload work to it using onboard graphics from AMD/ATI and nVidia.

    . Cost

    I think it will have to have something other than more cores - and at a reasonable price - in order to be attractive. Not saying it's a bad product either (I'm sure it would be a very fast), but is the market willing to pay for it or look elsewhere to something more efficient - and cheaper - for a given task?
  • -1 Hide
    wild9 , 16 December 2009 18:32
    Secretly leaked? Sure ;)  I'd say it's more like propaganda.

    Nice to see LGA1366 having a bit of longevity..it looks like Intel is taking a leaf out of AMD's book in terms of not abandoning it's support base.

    However it seems it's not all roses..

    . 130W TDP on a 32nm process.

    . 6 physical cores..I reckon AMD could possibly do 8 by that time, using a similar manufacturing process.

    . They are general-purpose i86 cores, at a time when GPGPU software is growing in popularity. Intel does not seem to be in a strong position in that respect, either with IGP solutions or discrete logic. Even with 6 physical cores + 6 threading units chugging away, I doubt the 980X EE would be able to get anywhere near GPGPU code even with a higher instructions-per-clock count than what is currently available. The GPGPU stuff will have matured even further (and smaller), by that time and you can already offload work to it using onboard graphics from AMD/ATI and nVidia.

    . Cost

    I think it will have to have something other than more cores - and at a reasonable price - in order to be attractive. Not saying it's a bad product either (I'm sure it would be a very fast), but is the market willing to pay for it or look elsewhere to something more efficient - and cheaper - for a given task?
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 16 December 2009 18:33
    Sorry about the double post.
  • 1 Hide
    DoDidDont , 16 December 2009 21:49
    Looking at the specs, I would say they are taken from the Intel Xeon 6 core gulf town that’s due to be released very soon and we already know about that. It uses DDR3 1066 Mhz memory that is currently used in the dual socket xeon platforms, and 2x16 discrete graphics, so must be the xeon gulf town specs with i7-980X pasted over it, unless this is our first sign of a new skulltrail specific processor like the qx9775? But as far as I remember Intel already said no way to that, and if it is a processor specifically designed for a new skull trail platform then it looks like Intel will be making the same memory mistakes as the last skulltrail again that will really annoy extreme gamers.
  • 0 Hide
    Kraynor , 17 December 2009 19:50
    I looked at the amount of cache and died a little inside... 12MB may be fine for 4 cores but if you're running a heavily multi-threaded app then 6 will be somewhat starved.

    I'll wait for the hexa-core chip that doesn't cost $1000 (it's an XE chip, of course it'll be up there).
  • 0 Hide
    ms_briefing_ , 6 June 2010 12:25
    I have this processor in my rig now, very very fast, boots up to the windows desktop in under 5 secs from turning the power on. Thats with a corsair 64x ssd. Not to mention what else it does.