Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980X E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors
Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980X
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Intel Core i7-980X
Intel Gulftown and Westmere
CPU Testing Methodology
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 10 Tests
Video Game Benchmarks
PCMarkVantage Tests
Everest CPU Benchmarks
Extreme Edition CPU Overclocking
Gulftown/Westmere Final Thoughts
Intel Core i7-980X Conclusion

Intel Core i7-980X Processor Review

Generally speaking, most users barely tap the potential of their computer system. Applications and video games are usually more affected by clock speed than they are processor cores, and many programs still are single-threaded. But again, this applies to most users. The differences between hardware enthusiasts or power-users and their casual PC user counterparts are acute and to the point that they have little in common with each other. While mainstream users concern themselves with browsing the web and checking email, enthusiasts are constantly looking to push their hardware with powerful overclocking experiments and power users create multiple virtual machine profiles for commercial application.

Intel offers something for everyone, as their extensive product line can prove. The chipmaker produces desktop, notebook, server, and personal digital appliance CPUs, Ethernet and Wi-Fi network processors, and countless co-processor units. Keep this in mind as Benchmark Reviews presents the Intel Core i7-980X processor, a six-core Westmere 32nm CPU. Codenamed Gulftown, this 3.33GHz Extreme Edition processor features an unlocked clock speed multiplier with twelve computing threads and a 12MB cache. Built for the Intel X58-Express enthusiast platform, Benchmark Reviews tests the BX80613I7980X retail part in gaming, computing, and overclocking performance.


While Gulftown's six-core processor architecture may be the most intriguing aspect of Intel's Core i7-980X CPU, it wouldn't be possible without Westmere's 32nm process technology. Although the consumer software industry has been slow to develop applications that can utilize multiple CPU cores and/or threads, there are many commercial programs which handle four or more processor threads very well... and even a few video games. Our benchmarks will determine how important multiple cores are to gaming later in this article, but it goes without question that Virtual-Machine applications receive immediate benefits from the added Hyper-Threading. Some already-popular productivity software titles also utilize multi-threaded processor cores, such as: Adobe Photoshop and Premiere-Pro, AutoDesk Maya and 3DS-Max, Microsoft Excel and Windows Live Movie Maker, Sony Vegas and Acid, and also VirtualDub.

About Intel Corporation


Intel Corporation is the world's largest semiconductor company founded by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, and widely associated with the executive leadership and vision of Andrew Grove, Intel combines advanced chip design capability with a leading-edge manufacturing capability. Originally known primarily to engineers and technologists, Intel's successful "Intel Inside" advertising campaign of the 1990s made it and its Pentium processor household names.

Intel pushes the boundaries of innovation so our work can make people's lives more exciting, fulfilling, and manageable. And our work never stops. We never stop looking for the next leap ahead-in technology, education, culture, manufacturing, and social responsibility. And we never stop striving to deliver solutions with greater benefits for everyone. Intel is making PCs more accessible and affordable through innovative PC purchase programs. Through public and private collaboration, Intel has worked closely with government and industry leaders to develop more than 200 programs in 60 countries. With the onslaught of wireless broadband communication technologies like WiMAX, Wi-Fi, and 3G and wireline ADSL and cable, Intel in collaboration with local governments is connecting more people in more places than ever before-no matter how remote.

Intel is committed to improving education on a global scale. With an ongoing focus on students and teachers, we're making an impact with technology solutions that support the development of 21st Century skills, including digital literacy, problem solving, and critical thinking. As citizens use the Internet, the need to create localized content is the key. Intel-sponsored programs provide localized content and services to connect technologies to villages, suburbs, and cities around the world to deliver access to community information, education, and healthcare.



# RE: Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980XJerry A 2010-03-10 22:22
- Does not add performance to high-level gaming platforms
You are running GPU limited, you would never know then again the argument of 'real world' is at play.
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# RE: Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980XCameron 2010-03-11 04:35
it would have been nnice to see the 920 at 4.0GHz too
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# QPI not open proportionallydavec 2010-03-11 08:02
I noticed Intel didn't boost the QPI from the 4 core models to the 6 core model. It will be interesting to see if that doesn't induce some bottlenecking relative to the 4 core models.

My guess is that they don't expect the typical consumer to notice.
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# ConsultantEverett L Williams II 2010-03-11 09:35
I realize that Intel would not have appreciated having their I7-980X monster compared to an OC'd I7-920, but it appears that such would have matched or beaten even the OC'd monster in all but the AES and at one fourth of the price. Why would anyone want this thing for anything other than encryption. If they deliver an I7-920 with AES, nobody WILL want this thing. I know that you hinted about this, but you need to come out and talk about the elephant in the room. This is a completely worthless technology demonstration.
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# ProgrammerDavid Ramsey 2010-03-11 17:29
It's not worthless; it just has a very limited domain. For the few apps and uses that can leverage the extra cores, it's a big win. People that render video, for example, will love it.
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# Danny saysDanny Boy 2010-03-12 03:53
some people will buy anything as long as its perceived to be the newest and best, even if that additional performance is minuscule and not worth the additional cost.

They will then try and convince themselves and anyone else on the few occasions they covert a video for You Tube or muck about with a demo of a 3D Animation program they got that they are getting their monies worth.

I am sure real business's and real professionals will get some benefit out of this but we all know the main type of person whos actually going to buy one of these.
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# Agree with DannyAyaz 2010-03-12 06:19
For an average user, most of the processing power actually goes wasted. Such things are definitely a step forward especially with the 32nm size but this would be of benefit only to the high-end customers and businesses.

I dare say a Core 2 Duo is the most that benefits an average person. If the RAM is insufficient or old DDR2, processing power doesn't add anything; it goes wasted.
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# RE: Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980Xtonry owens 2010-03-27 17:33
I think this is awesome for many reasons. As Dave Ramsey stated those that use computers for work might feel different that most. Morris Law has it's purpose better computing the more functional it becomes. My hats off to Intel, keep up the awesome work
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# RE: Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980Xtonry owens 2010-03-27 17:36
check out this review
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# thinkerMark fry 2010-04-16 12:30
Gosh I must be missing something...You start out the article discussing the advantages of this architecture IE multithreaded apps for video and audio rendering where this unit will be a boon but fail to use one like adobe premiere pro or photoshop etc and show what this unit can accomplish.

Gaming is GPU driven so why even bother with that as it is not the intended market...
Reminds me of building the latest ferrari and demoing it to welfare recipients while they may love it .It is hardly the intended audience.

Why dont you do part 2 with aps that use the HP


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# Good ideaOlin Coles 2010-04-16 13:44
Generally speaking, the lack of Premiere/Photoshop tests was due to time constraints. Additionally, it's difficult to track down applications that will support twelve threads. The Zip and encryption tests should help add perspective, though.
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# Dan TscheDan 2010-10-18 05:04
I really liked the review, Tonry Owens. Thanks!
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# el Gordoel Gordo 2010-10-18 11:45
Intel pushes the boundaries of innovation so our work can make people's lives more exciting, fulfilling, and el Gordo manageable.
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# RE: Intel Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU BX80613I7980XFred Jackson 2011-02-10 17:40
I have 3 of these... including one on my wristwatch. It makes telling the time quick.
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