The Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition processor is the new flagship processor. Featuring six cores plus hyper-threading, you know there is some power behind it! Coming at us with 3.46GHz of processing power per core and up to 3.73GHz with turbo enabled, it’s sure to be a fun processor to play with. If of course, you can swing the budget for this beast. The Intel Core i7 990X Extreme falls into the category of how fast do you want to go, and how much do you want to spend. If you want the best, you’re going to pay for it! The Intel Core i7 990X can be had for only $999.00.
The Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processors ranging from the Core i7 920 through the latest Core i7 975 Extreme Edition are built on a 45 nm technology. The core used in the Intel Core i7-990X Extreme is called ‘Gulftown’ and features a 32nm monolithic die comprised of all six execution cores. The 32 nm technology should prove to be much more energy efficient, though being a hex-core processor it may still draw more power than the 45nm quad-dore processors. As you can see from the labeled diagram shown above the queue and uncore elements reside in the center of the die and on each side they are surrounded by three cores and the shared L3 cache. The memory controller, miscellaneous I/O and QPI links are situated around the edges of the die. In total, the 990X is comprised of roughly 1.17 Billion transistors and has a die size of about 248mm2. Keep in mind that Bloomfield’s die 263mm2, so even though Gulftown has more cores, cache and transistors it is smaller thanks to the die shrink.
Having an out of the box frequency of 3.46GHz is simply a beautiful thing! Couple that with the six logical cores plus Hyper-Threading of the Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition processor and you have one bad to the core processor! Add to that another 266MHz when Intel’s Turbo mode kicks in, and you’ll be glued to your seat with performance! Running a Bclk of 133MHz, the 990X Extreme utilizes a multiplier of x26 to hit the 3.46GHz mark and up to x28 with Turbo enabled!
Before we get to the fun stuff, and start testing the Intel Core i7 990X Extreme, let’s take a peek at the system we will be using and the various systems we will be comparing too!