Can anyone believe that the successful, and potent, LGA1366 is now one year old? Since 2008, we’ve seen five new chips for the LGA1366 platform, as well as the introduction of the i5 series of CPUs and the new LGA1156 socket. It seems as though Intel’s market research paid off: things are selling well and AMD is having a tough time finding market share and buyers, just the way Intel thinks it should be.
For users who first migrated to the Core i7, they had the choice of the i7 920 or 940, and the 965 Extreme which features an unlocked multiplier. The i7 920 is still considered the best performing mainstream chip on the market, and has sold well. Unfortunately, for those who have moved or are already on the LGA1366 socket, upgrades are tough because there’s nothing to upgrade to. Well, come the second quarter of 2010, there might just be something to look forward to.
Intel has been making a lot of fuss about its new family of processors, codenamed Gulftown. Developed on the new 32nm process, which Intel has been working on since they taped out the 45nm current-generation processors, and manufactured by TSMC, Gulftown will be the most overclockable, power-sipping, and quad-core crushing chip to date.
Boasting six cores and 12 threads, 12MB of L3 cache and a full set of features including SMT, Turbo Mode, and support for Virtualization, the Core i9 is quite possibly the most extravagant processor ever created. Its debut is to be on the LGA1366 socket, and it is exclusively for LGA1366 owners. Intel currently has no plans for a six-core chip on the LGA1156 socket, and this further differentiates the two sockets and goes to show that Intel wants LGA1156 to fall into the budget and mainstream markets. Meanwhile, AMD fans have the benefit of using the six-core Rana on both AM2 and AM3 boards.
Not everyone will be able to afford an i9 at first. It is going to be marketed as an Extreme Edition processor with an unlocked multiplier, which just about means it’ll probably be around R12,000. It has been suggested that the first model will launch with a 2.4 GHz clock speed, and, clock for clock, it should be a good deal faster than the i7 920. Already some people have gotten hold of preview samples, and some have boasted overclocks of 6Ghz+, an astounding achievement with LN2.
Will it be worth upgrading to this new chip? I don’t really know. Intel has placed an NDA on any reviews or benchmark scores, but already the chip breaks all previous 3DMark Vantage records. But in any case, current Core i7 920 and up owners shouldn’t need to upgrade; their rigs are probably still performing admirably. For overclockers and people with too much money, the Core i9 would probably be a good buy, but supply is guaranteed to be short due to its current Extreme Edition status.
But will it run Crysis? Oh boy, you have no idea.