I don't care about the extra 133MHz CPU frequency, but I'm very interested to see what this new stepping of the 32nm Gulftown will be able to do.
During our forced hiatus, we learned of several very interesting news concerning the future of Intel desktop and notebook line-up. First up is the Core i7 990X.
The processor is set to debut in just a few weeks, during September 2010. From what we managed to learn, the i7-990X is based on a new stepping of Intel's 32nm Gulftown core consisted out of six cores and additional six threads. The clock is upped from 3.33GHz to 3.46GHz, while the Turbo mode ticking at 3.6GHz. According to preliminary results we have received, you should have no problems in clocking this processor past 4.5GHz on air, and 5GHz on water should be granted.
According to our sources, engineers are delighted with the new stepping, as the company is about to roll out new Xeon processors with accordingly high clock-speeds. Given that in some cases, the overclocked Gulftown beat our 24-core AMD Opteron 6100 [Magny-Cours] setup, it looks like the execution beast named Intel isn't stopping anytime soon. Bear in mind that this will not be the first Gulftown clocked at 3.46GHz. At the beginning of 2010, Intel released a quad-core version [two cores disabled] named Xeon X5677, which featured 12MB of L3 cache, just like the fully-fledged sexa-core versions. The clocks varied from 1.86 to 3.46GHz, as Gulftown became the first Intel core to ship at 3.46GHz following the ill-fated Prescott architecture and the long-forgotten Pentium 4 EE 955.
The Core i7 990X versus Pentium 4 EE 955 is also a good evidence how technology progressed - in only five years, the $1000 mark went from buying you a 150 Watt eating, polar cap melting dual-core with operating temperatures of 92C with a then most expensive, $60 cooler - to a sexa-core that won't consume more than 130W and yet, offering more three times the cores and much higher performance.