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Old 03-11-2010, 06:25 AM   #1
jvroig
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Default Intel's 6-core EE i7-980X out and reviewed

Was waiting for a few hours for this thread to come up, so I guess I should go ahead and do it since no one has started any

Gulftown is released, and reviewed by AnandTech.

My personal impressions:
Except for the price, excellent product. Stands toe-to-toe with the top quad-core, loses on some benchmarks due to L3 latency, wins some due to having 50% more cache. That's on benchmarks that aren't heavily threaded. As expected, wins greatly on heavily threaded ones.

The biggest win is simply that it isn't a trade-off between "slow hex-core vs fast quad-core". If you've got the cash to spare, there's no question as to which one to buy, hands-down Gulftown it is.

As for the competition, this makes me both hopeful and worried for AMD.

Hopeful because atleast this launch shows that a hex-core need not automatically be slower than a quad-core for single or lightly-threaded apps.

Worried because I am not sure Thuban can achieve the same feat as Gulftown did. I am not expecting Thuban to perform anywhere near Gulftown. What I meant by achieving the same feat as Gulftown is having the top Thuban part be just as fast as the top Phenom II X4 part (currently the 965) in single or lightly-threaded apps.

If only the price wasn;t as high... but then again, being an EE part, and having no competition for this performance bracket, no one can blame Intel.

Anyway, awesome job, Intel.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:45 AM   #2
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I'm sad that the L3$ is running a little looser than Bloomfield. It seems games are pretty cache dependant as shown by the marginal gains going from Yorkfield->Bloomfield->Gulftown.

I guess I should start getting prepared to wait for Sandy Bridge
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #3
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the guys at Tweaktown took an engineering sample 980 up to 6+ GHz on Liquid Nitrogen.

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/31...ing/index.html

the performance charts are a little biased towards Gulftown because they are running at stock.

how does a 4 GHz Core i7 920 (or its Xeon counterpart, the Xeon 3520)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819117213

... compare to the stock or overclocked 980X ?
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:04 AM   #4
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It looks like its getting about time to retire my Q6600. Time to get shopping.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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It'll be interesting to see more tests between the i7 975 and i7 980X in gaming. It looks like a mixed bag there. Wins some and loses some. Bit of a 50-50 mix so far but he didn't test that many games. His look at overclocking didn't show it can do a whole lot more either. I'm also curious how easily the users will have updating their BIOS for the newer chip. That plus will their ram still work as good? Anand seemed to have some slight problems with his. It was a interesting read now to wait and see what users (the few that can afford the 980X) can do with it.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:23 AM   #6
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Are these i7 980Xs, that the reviewers have, engineering samples? I am surprised that a higher OC could not be attained ... I have seen elsewhere that an OC of 4.05 GHz was squeezed out.

I am planning on getting one of these, but was really expecting to see better OC.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsiStar View Post
Are these i7 980Xs, that the reviewers have, engineering samples? I am surprised that a higher OC could not be attained ... I have seen elsewhere that an OC of 4.05 GHz was squeezed out.

I am planning on getting one of these, but was really expecting to see better OC.
Wait until aigo posts here...His is way over that, but I don't remember the speed.

So when will these be available to buy is the real question ?
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:04 AM   #8
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Wait until aigo posts here...His is way over that, but I don't remember the speed.

So when will these be available to buy is the real question ?
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2045083

He had his running at almost 4.4Ghz at 1.411v. Seems like he wasn't pushing it too far.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:01 PM   #9
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I am surprised that a higher OC could not be attained ... I have seen elsewhere that an OC of 4.05 GHz was squeezed out.
That most likely is because Anand only uses the stock cooler for his OC tests and, as Anand himself said in the comments section of that review:

Quote:
Also note that I limited my voltage to a ~15% increase. I believe with more voltage it's possible to go higher, but you really start driving power consumption up at that point.

Take care,
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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So when will these be available to buy is the real question ?
March 16 AFAIK.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:31 PM   #11
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I skipped this section of the review before, but now that I've looked at it, page 4 of the review shows that the 980X stock cooler is a lot bigger and probably a lot better than the previous standard cooler.

Given that the TDP remained the same, I have to admit I am wondering why Intel decided to introduce a better heatsink,
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsiStar View Post
Are these i7 980Xs, that the reviewers have, engineering samples? I am surprised that a higher OC could not be attained ... I have seen elsewhere that an OC of 4.05 GHz was squeezed out.

I am planning on getting one of these, but was really expecting to see better OC.
Mine can do 4.3 GHz at 1.43 vcore in bios, just under 1.4 vcore with dvroop. I may be able to push farther since my temps are low. It really depends on the chip i guess. Any news yet on vcore limits for these chips?
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jvroig View Post
Given that the TDP remained the same, I have to admit I am wondering why Intel decided to introduce a better heatsink,
Intel doesn't release a TDP number per processor, but rather per family. Even the lowly Core i7 920 has the same 130W TDP.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:50 PM   #14
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In the gaming benchmarks AT really needs to get with the times, and focus more on well-threaded games like Dirt2 and BC2 to see the overall impact on more cores/logical cpus.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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In the gaming benchmarks AT really needs to get with the times, and focus more on well-threaded games like Dirt2 and BC2 to see the overall impact on more cores/logical cpus.
Agreed. But it also helps to see performance on the rest of the games that are still not highly threaded. It helps everyone see a more complete picture of what to expect given highly-threaded games and single-threaded or dual-threaded games. If the benchmarks showed only games like GTA IV and Dragon Age, it may confuse some into thinking that gaming performance in general will see that kind of boost when it actually won't for what is still the majority of games. (I am assuming that most games right now still do not use all 4 cores or scale very well at all)

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Intel doesn't release a TDP number per processor, but rather per family. Even the lowly Core i7 920 has the same 130W TDP.
Wasn't aware of that, thanks. Wouldn't the i7 975 EE be close to being "true" 130W TDP as anything? At least, I assume it is, and since there is no new TDP for the 980X and power consumption remained equal (or even slightly lower) than the i7 975, why would there be a need for a heatsink that, if I am to guess based on size, seems far better than the old stock cooler?

Last edited by jvroig; 03-11-2010 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:14 PM   #16
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Looks sexy.
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jvroig View Post
Agreed. But it also helps to see performance on the rest of the games that are still not highly threaded. It helps everyone see a more complete picture of what to expect given highly-threaded games and single-threaded or dual-threaded games. If the benchmarks showed only games like GTA IV and Dragon Age, it may confuse some into thinking that gaming performance in general will see that kind of boost when it actually won't for what is still the majority of games. (I am assuming that most games right now still do not use all 4 cores or scale very well at all)


Wasn't aware of that, thanks. Wouldn't the i7 975 EE be close to being "true" 130W TDP as anything? At least, I assume it is, and since there is no new TDP for the 980X and power consumption remained equal (or even slightly lower) than the i7 975, why would there be a need for a heatsink that, if I am to guess based on size, seems far better than the old stock cooler?
probably because the stock cooler isn't even adequate to run these CPUs @ 100% load in the first place, replacing it voids your warranty, and a CPU like this is highly likely to be run @ max load if users buy to their needs. By comparison, the coolers my C2Q chips came with wouldn't even let me run the linpack benchmark cause the CPU hit TJmax instantly and my comp rebooted.
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendrixFan View Post
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2045083

He had his running at almost 4.4Ghz at 1.411v. Seems like he wasn't pushing it too far.
That was my first gulftown.
The second one i got is better.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jvroig View Post
Wasn't aware of that, thanks. Wouldn't the i7 975 EE be close to being "true" 130W TDP as anything? At least, I assume it is, and since there is no new TDP for the 980X and power consumption remained equal (or even slightly lower) than the i7 975, why would there be a need for a heatsink that, if I am to guess based on size, seems far better than the old stock cooler?
what i noticed that up to 4ghz, the gulftown really isnt much hotter then my 975.

However when you go over 4ghz, things get hot especially with HT ON.

I think on XS andre yang and a few other high benchers quoted... the cpu can pull up to 100amps off the socket when clocked higher then 4.5ghz.


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Old 03-11-2010, 03:00 PM   #19
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that thing's a monster!! has 12MB of cache, incredible and the benchmarks looks pretty good especially on heavily threaded apps. But like previous guy mentioned, I think heat might be problem for this chip. I think it may need water to cool it properly at higher oc.

let me do a quick calc:
100Amp x 1.2-1,5V = 120-150 Watt
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:47 PM   #20
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Am I the only one who feels gulftown isn't scaling well in a number of applications known to be well threaded? Take 3ds max for example, 50% more cores/threads, only 11% performance gain.

I use that as my example because its one of the only truely threaded environments I utilize, and the only reason I even own quad core prcoessors. There seem to be very few areas where gulftown is noticably faster than bloomfield.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:58 PM   #21
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Am I the only one who feels gulftown isn't scaling well in a number of applications known to be well threaded? Take 3ds max for example, 50% more cores/threads, only 11% performance gain.

I use that as my example because its one of the only truely threaded environments I utilize, and the only reason I even own quad core prcoessors. There seem to be very few areas where gulftown is noticably faster than bloomfield.
I have thought about that just looking at the Cinebench score. In aigomorla's post for Cinebench, the line above the i7 980X is for dual Xeon w5590s, at stock of course.
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #22
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What's the reasoning for Intel keeping the price of the i7 975 at $999? Why would anyone buy the 975 over the 980X at the same price point?
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:38 PM   #23
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probably because the stock cooler isn't even adequate to run these CPUs @ 100% load in the first place, replacing it voids your warranty, and a CPU like this is highly likely to be run @ max load if users buy to their needs. By comparison, the coolers my C2Q chips came with wouldn't even let me run the linpack benchmark cause the CPU hit TJmax instantly and my comp rebooted.
Bullsh*t
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:06 PM   #24
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I put a question in to Corsair's support on whether the H50 would be able to cool it, and leave some room to overclock. They have been working on an answer for over a week and half and have stated in their forum they are working on it, but I still have not gotten an official answer.
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Getting a cpu from Aigo after he's had his way with it is like dating an ex-girlfriend of Ron Jeremy...its been so used and abused by this point that you'd be lucky if that LGA1366 chip would actually fit into a LGA2011 board
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #25
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Bullsh*t
its not really the stock coolers on the C2 Quads and Duals were pieces of shit
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