An early pre-production sample of Intel's first six-core Core i7 CPU arrived in the office today.
These six-core CPUs are codenamed Gulftown, and are based on the first generation Bloomfield core Core i7s
that debuted last year. The first Gulftown CPU is scheduled to replace Intel's current fastest desktop CPU, the Core i7-975 Extreme Edition
Gulftown isn't Intel's first six-core CPU - that honour goes to the hideously expensive and rarer than hens teeth Xeon 7400
series (codenamed Dunnington) which is based on the ageing Core architecture. Dunnington CPUs are designed for quad-socket servers and HPC applications that require 24 physical cores squeezed into one 4U rack-mountable chassis.
As we've managed to snag this Gulftown sample so early, Intel has yet to finalise the clock frequency that the retail chips will be sold at. As a result, our sample is clocked a fair bit lower than the retail chips will likely end up being. Even so, our initial test results look extremely promising.
Unfortunately, at this stage we can't publish these performance results, so you'll have to wait a little longer for any benchmark results. In the meantime you can prepare your wallets for demolition with some eye candy photos of these monstrously fast six-core CPUs. At Intel's request we've obscured the model numbers, but we can confirm that the sample we have runs at a higher frequency than [sorry, we can't say that yet - Ed].
Here's the Gulftown CPU (left) shot next to a LGA1366 Core i7-920 (right) - both CPUs fit in the LGA1366 CPU socket and work with the X58 chipset, and so look fairly similar. As you can see, the heatspreader and upper surface of the Gulftown CPU is identical to the older Bloomfield CPU.
In contrast, the undersides of the two CPUs are completely different, with the Gulftown (left) having a much more uniform pattern of components than the Bloomfield (right).
As soon as Intel gives us the go ahead to publish some benchmark results, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, are you looking forward to the new Gulftown CPUs, or do you think you'll stick with what you've got for the foreseeable future? Thoughts in the forum