Intel Core i7-980X "Gulftown" – Introduction
It’s amazing how time flies in the technology industry, take Core i7 as an example. As a product range Intel’s current desktop platform still seems very fresh but it has actually been around since 2008. There has of course been a couple of refreshes to the product line in that time as new stepping’s were brought to market and specifications enhanced but essentially, like the X58 chipset on which it runs, the Core i7 has sat at the top of the market unchallenged and unchanged for nearly 18 months.
Being market leader hasn’t caused Intel to stagnate though, instead they are pressing on with their roadmap and today see’s the release of their latest CPU, the Core i7-980X Processor Extreme Edition. While the model number may be similar to the existing i7-975 this release is more than “just another speed-bump”; the heatsink alone is worth talking about. So today we take Intel’s new high end processor through a selection of real world productivity, media and gaming tests to establish how much of a step forward it is from the existing product range.
In addition to this we will also take a look at Gigabyte’s X58A-UD7 which takes the X58 chipset design and, amongst other things, adds SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0 support. On paper there are few boards which can compete so let’s find out how good it really is…