Intel Core i7-990X Extreme: Crazy Fast Got Faster

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What do you do when you're the fastest thing around?  You just keep on WINNING. It's as if there was tiger blood coursing through your veins. You're so good, you're bi-winning.  Heck, with a six core processor at your disposal, you'd be hexa-winning.  Ol' Charlie needs one of these things to go with his rock-star life style.  As desktop processors go, Intel's Core i7 900 series line-up is pretty much the Charlie of the computing world.  Tiger blood and all, though people might ask what kind of drug you were on and the response would have to be "Core i" of course. It's a little like crack only it doesn't make you lose your voice.  Though you might want to occasionally unplug the bastard because, dude, it fires in a way that, we don't know, might not be from this terrestrial realm. And the ladies.  Well, let's just say that's not going to be a problem.  Ever. And it's not about the money, honest.  Ahh, it's good to be the king.  Yeah. 

But let's move forward, shall we?  Intel decided they would as well and recently they launched a speed bump of their flagship Extreme Edition Core i7 processor, known as the Core i7 990X.  It's unlocked and clocked at 3.45GHz stock speed with a Turbo Boost top-end speed of 3.73GHz.  Intel claims its the fastest desktop chip on the planet; like geek tiger blood for your PC.


Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition 6-Core Processor
Specifications & Features

  • Core Frequency: 3.45GHz (Up To 3.73GHz w/ Turbo)
  • QPI Speed - 6.4GT/s
  • TDP (Thermal Design Power) - 130W
  • Stepping - 2
  • Number of CPU Cores - 6 (12 Threads w/ HT)
  • Intel SmartCache - 12MB
  • L2 Cache - 1.5MB (256K x 6)
  • Processor input voltage (VID) - .95v
  • .032-micron manufacturing process
  • Shared Smart Cache Technology
  • PECI Enabled
  • Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST)
  • Extended HALT State (C1E) Enabled
  • Execute Disable Bit (XD) Enabled
  • Intel 64 Technology
  • AES-NI: 12 new processor instructions
  • Intel Virtualization Technology (VT)
  • Packaging -  Flip Chip LGA1366
  • Total Die Size: Approximately 248mm2
  • Approximately 1.17B Transistors
  • Price - $999


32nm Gulftown 6-Core Wafer


The new Core i7-990X is also based on the 32nm Gulftown core, which is derived from the 45nm Nehalem architecture that debuted with the original Core i7s. We've posted a number of articles in the past detailing Nehalem, in which we cover all its main features and specifications, and have even covered Gulftown a bit here and there. We've also posted information on overclocking Nehalem, even under extreme conditions, as well as well as the previous high-end Gulftown-based Core i7 980X Extreme Edition six-core chip.  Here's a list of those related stories if you'd like some additional backdrop.

And this is what Intel's Core i7 900 line-up looks like as of today, though the new Core i7-990X Extreme Edition processor will be supplanting the Core i7-980X moving forward.

CPU Model #
Core Clock Cores / Threads L3 Cache Max Turbo Boost Speed CPU Code Name Process
Intel Core i7-990X 3.45GHz 6 / 12  12MB 3.73GHz Gulftown 32nm
Intel Core i7-980X 3.33GHz 6 / 12 12MB 3.60GHz Gulftown 32nm
Intel Core i7-975 3.33GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.60GHz Bloomfield 45nm
Intel Core i7-970 3.20GHz 6 / 12 12MB 3.46GHz Gulftown 32nm
Intel Core i7-960 3.20GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.46GHz Bloomfield 45nm
Intel Core i7-930 2.80GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.06GHz Bloomfield 45nm

So that's the family.  Now let's get a look at the genetics.

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