Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Processor Review

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Core i7 Gets A Speed Bump

When the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture was announced in November 2008, Intel unleashed pure ownage into the processor market. The Intel Core i7 series consisted of just three processors, the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, i7-940, and i7-920. When these processors were paired with the brand new Intel X58 Express chipset you had a performance monster under your thumb as the advantages of the new microarchitecture and triple-channel memory requirement blew any and all competitors out of the water. It’s hard to believe that more than half a year has passed, but it has, and it is time to give the Core i7 series a refresh!

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Chart

Last week, Intel released a pair of new additions to the Core i7 line of processors that will eventually replace two of the three current Core i7 series processors as the months roll by. Being replaced are the Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition that runs at 3.20 GHz and the Core i7-940 that runs at 2.93 GHz. Replacing them is the Core i7-975 Extreme Edition, which will operate at a frequency of 3.33 GHz and the Core i7-950 that runs at 3.06 GHz. The speed bump is a modest 133 MHz on each processor thanks to each part having its multiplier value increased by x1. Both the Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition and the i7-950 will be based on the much desired D0 stepping, which the Core i7 920 has also been transitioned to over the past several months. By the end of summer all of the C0/C1 stepping Core i7 series processors should be off store shelves and the new D0 steppings should be available across the board. The new Core i7 D0 steppings have some minor tweaks that were done to the memory controller on the chip allowing for higher DDR3 memory overclocking and improved thermals from what we have been told by Intel.

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Processor

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the processor that is in the hot seat today – the Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition. This processor will be available in retail box (BX80601975) or tray configurations for a cool $1039 shipped.

Core i7 CPU Name

Cores

Clock

Cache

QPI/FSB

TDP

Pricing

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme
4

3.33GHz

8MB

3200MHz

150W

Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
4

3.20GHz

8MB

3200MHz

150W

Intel Core i7-950
4

3.06GHz

8MB

2400MHz

130W

Intel Core i7-940
4

2.93GHz

8MB

2400MHz

130W

Intel Core i7-920
4

2.66GHz

8MB

2400MHz

130W

Many of our readers can only dream about processors that cost over a thousand dollars, but keep in mind the Intel Core i5 series of processors (Lynnfield) are due to arrive in the market in September 2009, according to sources at motherboard makers, not Intel. Rumor has it that Intel plans to launch three Core i5 processors with frequencies of 2.93GHz, 2.80GHz, and 2.66GHz. These will be priced at $562, $284 and $196 in thousand-unit tray quantities. All of the Core i5 processors at launch will feature a TDP of 95W, which isn’t bad and much lower than the Core i7 series as they range from 130W TDP to 150W TDP. While the Core i5 processors operate lower frequencies than Core i7 they are faster clock-for-clock than the Intel Core 2 Quad solutions that are currently on the market. This means that Intel will have to clear those processors from the channel for the Core i5 processors to find a useful place in the market. Giving the Core i7 series a speed bump while you are at it ensures that the Core i7 series will stay in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts.

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Processor load

Using an early version of the yet to be released CPU-Z 1.52.0 we are able to see the how the processor runs with default settings and turbo mode turned off (the way we benchmark all of our Core i7 processors). The Core i7-975 Extreme Edition runs at 3.40GHz with an impressive 8MB of shared L3 cache and 1MB of L2 cache.

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Processor Turbo Mode

Many enthusiast motherboards have ‘Turbo Mode’ enabled by default, so the first time we fired up the Core i7-975 Extreme Edition and put it under load the processor was running at 3.47GHz and not 3.33GHz. This is due to the fact that the processor will scale a single bin speed higher when thermals allow it.

Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Processor Idle

At idle the Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor would drop down to a x12.0 multiplier, which meant the system was operating at 1.60GHz during an idle state.

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