Intel 980x Gulftown

Closer Look and Temperatures

Closer Look

Normally this is the part of CPU reviews that we dread. We all love a great picture of some sexy hardware but unlike every other hardware item, except perhaps storage, CPUs are as photogenic as Courtney Love? Thankfully in surprising twist we actually do have something great to show you because Intel have finally dispensed with the useless stock cooler that we've all been plagued with for years and moved into the Heatpipe Tower style of cooling that we all use anyway.

The CPU itself is a CPU. Very little to say. Externally it's identical to any other of the i7 family.

  

The New Cooler

Fortunately the new stock heatsink is vastly different. Although tower designs are very similar we were put in mind of the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7, which was a great little cooler so hopefully this one will perform well. I'm sure most of us who've brought a retail CPU have a box with an untouched stock cooler in it, so having one we'd actually consider using is a vast improvement.

The fan placement is slightly strange. Most, if not all, of the coolers we come across tunnel the air through the fins. Intel have decided to leave the fan exposed and have some of it pumping air across the heatpipes themselves. So it's a start, but not perfect.

        

On the left we can see a fairly robust mounting bracket which should provide more pressure than the standard push-pin style of former coolers.

On the right you can see the toggle switch that changes the fan from quiet to performance. 

        

One thing that hugely impressed us was the quality of the finish on the copper base. Very shiny indeed and it's not a fake "plated to look good" shine either but rather a very good smoothness. Without an electron microscope of course it's difficult to be precise, but we've seen many in our time and this is one of the finer ones.

    

Temperatures

The cooler actually performed very well especially considering it is still a stock cooler and only 92mm in size. As you can see below on the high settings it takes the edge nicely off the temperatures. However the primary difference does seem to be noise. WOW this thing is loud on high settings. Insanely so. Anyone who thinks the original 4870 or 8800 cooler was loud hasn't seen anything yet.

A tweak to the design to a shrouded fan that fully blows across the fins and not underneath will allow much lower RPM and hopefully noise. 

So the old stock coolers used to be loud and useless. This is a good cooler and still loud. Slowly but surely we're getting there. Unfortunately at the price point of this CPU I'd want Mr Otellini himself to install an all copper cooler personally so it's not without fault. 

      

I'm sure you're all as eager as we are to put this through its paces, so let's get down to some testing.

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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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