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

Article Index

Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, this portion of our evaluation is going to be rather dry, tasteless or otherwise devoid of flavor.  You see, when you bump a processor's clock speed up by about 3.5% or so, the performance increase usually scales linearly.  So yeah, the new Core i7-990X is pretty much faster across the board by somewhere in the neighborhood of 3% or so.  No rocket science or quantum mechanics is required to understand the numbers.  The Core i7-990X is what it is, just a little bit faster than Intel's previous generation flagship desktop chip.

Faster = goodness so we won't complain but if you were looking for something to get all hot and bothered about, you might want to stick to catching more Charlie-awesomeness on the major news networks. Intel is basically taking their fastest chip at the high-end and dropping in a slightly faster chip that supplants the 980X moving forward.  The good news is pricing doesn't change for the top-shelf Core i7 Extreme Edition processor...

Of course, Intel's fastest chip for the desktop never comes cheap and it weighs-in at the tradition $999 1K unit price point. And of course, street prices don't necessarily require you to purchase a thousand chips to hit that $999 mark.  Regardless, it's a price premium that seemingly only Intel can command these days and we're sure they'll sell a tray or two of these bad boys along the way.

A neat test bench is the sign of a sick mind... no really.

For the average enthusiast or do-it-yourselfer, if you ask our opinion (and that's why you're here, right?), save more than a few pennies and get the new Core i7-970.  That's a $400+ price savings or over 40%, for literally only 8% less clock speed.  If you're the overclocking type, you could easily take a 970 to 3.46/3.73 Turbo but of course, like anything in life, there are no guarantees; though the stretch is almost inconsequential.  Either way, Intel has the fastest 6-core processor going and by a long shot.  The introduction of the new Core i7-990X only widens that gap.  What's going to be interesting is what AMD's Bulldozer looks like against the backdrop of Intel's monster performance lead with their current six-core architecture, or against future generation Sandy Bridge high-end chips.  But hey, we're all about the bi-winning around here.  You know, a little win here, a win there.  It's all good.


  • Killer Performance, Tiger Blood-Infused
  • Most Overclocking Headroom Yet
  • 6-Cores, Yay
  • Compatible with Existing Mobos
  • Crazy Fast Means a Crazy Price Tag
  • Still No Official DDR3-1333 Support For Tri-Channel??

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