Intel Previews 6 Core Processor

The 32-nanometer desktop processor known as Gulftown is the successor to Intel's quad-core Core i7-975x Extreme.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

March 15, 2010

2 Min Read

In a bid to attract PC gamers and creative professionals, Intel showed off its six-core desktop processor, codenamed Gulftown, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Intel on Wednesday demonstrated the upcoming Core i7-980x Extreme Edition processor running games from Sega and Ubisoft, music production software from Cakewalk, and graphics software for building games from Geomerics. The 32-nanometer processor is the successor to Intel's current flagship desktop processor, the quad-core Core i7-975x Extreme.

The 980x is scheduled to be released this year. The processor has six cores and can be used in the same sockets on motherboards using Intel's X58 Express chipset. As a result, the 980x is an upgrade option for gamers, creative professionals, and PC enthusiasts looking for a power boost without having to buy a new system. The price is expected to be $999, which is the same as the 975x.

Those considering the upgrade, however, will have to be careful to make sure their favorite games and software can take advantage of the additional cores. If the applications are not designed for the hardware, then users are unlikely to see much of a speed difference.

The trend among chip vendors is to release new processors with more cores, faster clock speeds. and larger internal cache to boost performance over previous generations. However, most software makers haven't kept up with the trend, with the exception of some game makers and vendors like Adobe, which makes professional graphics tools and video-editing products.

Indeed, experts have warned of a "multicore crisis," if software makers fail to take advantage of chip makers' new architectures. They argue that laggards will suffer the consequences in the marketplace, when potential buyers shun unmodified software for faster-running competing apps that have been redesigned for the latest chips.

Intel has been trying to speed up software conversion by releasing development tools, such as the Parallel Studio which plugs into Microsoft's Visual Studio integrated development environment.

For Further Reading:
CES: Intel CEO Aims Beyond The PC
Intel Atom Platform Targets SMBs
Wolfe's Den: Intel CTO Envisions On-Chip Data Centers
Intel Floats Cloud Computing On A Chip

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