Intel 980x Gulftown

Introduction

Intel 980x Hex-Core Gulftown

Introduction

Bringing us more codenames than MI-6 and the Kremlin combined another new year brings another Intel line-up of processors. We have codenames for the process involved, Nehalem being the 45nm, Westmere is 32nm. We have codenames for the chips involved, Lynnfield, Clarkdale, Bloomfield etc.

So although we love to delve deep into the technological side of things here at OC3D, if this is all new you you, don't worry we'll try and make it as clear as possible in the introduction and then leave the codenames where they belong, on this page.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Intels future releases always follow their "tick tock" methodology of releasing with the Tock being a change of socket or architecture, and the Tick being a refinement of that process.

Unless you've been living in a cave for the couple of years it wont have escaped your notice that Intel released their LGA1366 socket with three Core i7 processors codenamed Bloomfield, to replace the ageing Yorktown 775 platform.

With a complete shift over to a 45nm process, integrating the memory controller onto the chip, bringing back the hyper-threading that had been absent for a couple of generations and replacing the Front Side Bus with a Quick Path Interconnect, it was a huge leap forwards in technology from what had come before and quickly found favour amongst every sector of the PC community. Such a comprehensive list of changes brought forth the largest Tock upgrade arguably in Intels history.

As sure as the hands on a clock endlessly count the marching time, so we have reached the Tick part of Intels schedule, namely a refinement of the original i7 processors we all know and love.

This town, is coming like a Gulftown

As befits the endless codenames that we have to keep track of, the update to the i7 Bloomfield is Gulftown and if you've been following the drips of information as eagerly as we have it's time to wipe that drool off because the product is finally in our hands. So what has the Tick refinement brought to our table?

The primary two changes that are sure to make the hardware nuts amongst us (I think that's everyone then) reach for the Kleenex are a reduction from 45nm "Nehalem" process to the 32nm "Westmere" process that we've recently seen in the i3 range, and in the case of todays CPU, a 33% increase in cores and cache.

Yes this 980x processor has six individual hyper-threaded cores providing 12 threads of goodness and 12mb of L3 Cache. It retains the 130TDP from the Bloomfield processors so, even though it has two extra cores to keep cool, the reduction to 32nm should ensure similar overclocking levels. 

If you are the secretive type or perhaps work for the CIA then encryption is something that will play a big part in your life. The Intel Westmere 32nm processors now include hardware AES data encryption. This probably wont mean much right now, but wait until you get to page four to see what a difference it can make.

With so much of last year dedicated to the 1156 P55 boards and chips, those of us who'd early adopted the LGA1366 X58 motherboards were starting to feel a little left out, especially as the 1156 series of CPUs provided such immense overclocking prowess. So has the wait been worthwhile? Read on.

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Most Recent Comments

04-03-2010, 19:14:44

tinytomlogan
OC3D loves a good cpu to play with, but is the 980x as good as we all hope?

Continue Reading

04-03-2010, 19:47:03

ppuff
Performs like a champ. It looks as though Intel will once again throw AMD under the bus with this one.

04-03-2010, 20:42:03

VonBlade
Fantastic review Tom. Really enjoyable read.

Blimey that's a bit of kit. Dear Santa

05-03-2010, 02:45:02

thestepster
looks like its lived up 2 the hype and its like u said its only the price thats the bad point

05-03-2010, 03:03:19

Runebeard
Dude I bloody love your analogies, "...it goes like an Essex girl on a Free WKD night." Man that cracked up

So wish I could afford to splurge on one of these, I wouldn't have to upgrade for tiiiiime.

11-03-2010, 10:38:21

tinytomlogan
Its back!

11-03-2010, 10:51:03

thestepster
ooh u got it back for more playin about

11-03-2010, 14:53:29

killablade
God I want one of those 0.o Simply amazing!

11-03-2010, 15:00:43

BloomerzUK
OT: Love the avatar Tom.

11-03-2010, 16:00:30

BbBoS
Spectacular processor

Maybe with some ATI 5870's in crossfire, or Nvidia equivalents we could see 80 frames + from crysis

12-03-2010, 02:01:08

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='BloomerzUK'
OT: Love the avatar Tom.
w00t. it may be making an appearance elsewhere soon

12-03-2010, 12:23:04

tinytomlogan
Yeah the OC3D Range Rover is in the sign shop as we speak! whooooopah

12-03-2010, 12:55:08

mayhem
850 est. come on guyes thats raly taking the piss.

No way will it be worth it buying it. and there is no way on earth any one here is going to need that much power except for good scores on test benches and braging rights wich means naff all in real world.

Thats like getting a car to compenswte for the fact you cannot be good in another department.

still good good review though but way out of my budget range and some thing ill never own unless OC3d are gving it away as a ""PRIZE"" hint hint ....lol

12-03-2010, 16:44:26

cl0ck_ed
OMG, that looks like a BEAST, didn't think there would be such an improvement in gaming. The minimum FPS for crysis warhead are 216% better!! WOW.

Great review btw.

16-03-2010, 09:42:40

Runebeard
Scan.co.uk have them on preorder for 882.74. Looks like I won't be getting one then as that takes up almost all my budget for my entire pc build xD

16-03-2010, 10:34:11

FarFarAway
Looks hawt Tomster

Out of interest, did you manage to get a Super PI 1m at all? I just want to see some pwnage

16-03-2010, 17:28:56

tinytomlogan
Super Pi doesnt utilise all the cores dude so that was one of the tests that we missed out as it wasnt a proper representation of the power the CPU had to offer.

16-03-2010, 19:04:45

MikeEnIke
6 Cores is just insane. All on the same size chip.

16-03-2010, 19:31:15

thestepster
well in memory of my grandad if i get enuff ill have gulftown and 58xx/fermi folding rockin

17-03-2010, 05:46:45

Macon Paine
Looks awesome, performance is just incredible! Well done Intel, pity about the price though this thing costs about $1700 AUD. AMDs gonna need to pull a rabbit out of the hat with bulldozer.

08-04-2010, 06:53:34

osshead
thanks for the check tom. i like your style of writing mate.

08-04-2010, 11:47:43

alexhull24
Some serious power, I enjoyed the review tom. Cost is the problem here though, but this is always the case with bleeding edge hardware. Most of us have to wait for it to trickle down into our price range, which doesn't usually take long.

08-04-2010, 13:32:51

killablade
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='alexhull24'
Some serious power, I enjoyed the review tom. Cost is the problem here though, but this is always the case with bleeding edge hardware. Most of us have to wait for it to trickle down into our price range, which doesn't usually take long.
It does for me, usually it never even happens xD

10-04-2010, 07:28:05

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='mayhem'
850 est. come on guyes thats raly taking the piss.

No way will it be worth it buying it. and there is no way on earth any one here is going to need that much power except for good scores on test benches and braging rights wich means naff all in real world.

Thats like getting a car to compenswte for the fact you cannot be good in another department.

still good good review though but way out of my budget range and some thing ill never own unless OC3d are gving it away as a ""PRIZE"" hint hint ....lol
It's a real gimmick offering under that price tag, but it's subsequent spawnings will offer a cheaper alternative at a 'healthier' price. However healthy, they're going to exceed 4x pricing for some time.

6x cpus are allowing those at the top end of benchmarking to exploit their donations at this point. We've already seen this week Shamino cream the 3dMark Vantage record by some 5000 points with a single 'retail' GTX480 in one run, but my argument would be that with a 4x cpu, or his 6x with a 5870, would it only be a few thousand.

It's going to take a long time, imo, for these Intel offerings to calm down on the pricing stake. Maybe it'll take a really good AMD 8x to do it, but as far as extreme top-end cpus go for pricing, I can remember my QX9650 being priced at less than half of this.

10-04-2010, 11:26:26

tinytomlogan
The QX9770 at launch was 900, its a given the top end CPU will cost a grand tbh.

10-04-2010, 20:13:21

ppuff
Until the release of the 980x the i7 975 was $999 at my local shop, now its $799. I agree with Tom that almost all top ones seem to be 1K.

11-04-2010, 08:44:11

Rastalovich
The QX9650 was the top cpu in it's time, and it wasn't 1k. The QX9770 has the unique privilege of being unofficially the top of it's socket forever and can still be retailed for 1k2.

If ur thinking 980x will remain the top cpu for these sockets forever, then u can appreciate it being 1k - but I somehow doubt that with Intel sticking with this socket set for a good few years to come, that the 980x will be the top end for it's duration.

15-04-2010, 13:13:35

Nozbit
Alot of cash for a cpu but truly stunning performance for your money. Euro Millions will be getting played this weekend!
Reply
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