Its screaming fast in applications that utilize the added cores.
Intel’s Extreme Edition of CPUs have always been their highest end desktop processors at the time of their arrival. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them have been great CPUs- just the best that Intel has had to offer at the time of their release. The Core i7 980X launched recently is the newest member to the Extreme Edition family and as expected, it is the fastest desktop CPU Intel has at the moment.
Based on the same 32nm process used in the Clarkdale Core i3/i5 CPUs, the Core i7 980X Extreme Edition (codenamed Gulftown) is Intel’s first six core desktop CPU running at 3.33GHz stock with a Turbo boost speed of 3.60Ghz. Interestingly TDP remains the same at 130W while the L3 cache gets bumped up from 8MB to 12MB. As with all Extreme Edition CPUs, the Core i7 980X is launched at the $999 price tag or AED 3,650. Along with the CPU, Intel also bundles a new HSF unit that is a bit of a pain to install/remove.
We’ve compared the Core i7 980X to one of Intel’s previous flagship CPU- the quad core Core i7 965X CPU running at 3.20Ghz. Both these CPUs have been tested under ASUS’ Rampage Extreme II motherboard with an NVIDIA GTX280 Graphics Card and 3GB Corsair DDR3-1333MHz RAM. The following are the results:
As you can see from the graphs above, the 980X flies where the added cores are utilized such as 7-zip, x264 HD Encoding and Cinebench. However, games don’t really make use of the two added core- even Left 4 Dead 2 which is somewhat optimized for multiple cores. The little difference that the 980X has over the 965 has more to do with the added GHz than anything else.
Bottom line- the 980X is an incredibly fast CPU and worth it if you are rendering or encoding at a professional level. For the rest of us, we can spend that $1000 on a CPU, Motherboard, Graphics card and memory to build a system that may not be as fast as the 980X but good enough to tackle the above mentioned games and benchmarks gracefully.