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Six-core Core i7s photographed in the bit-tech lab

Six-core Core i7s photographed in the bit-tech lab

First pictures of Intel's forthcoming LGA1366 six-core Gulftown CPU

An early pre-production sample of Intel's first six-core Core i7 CPU arrived in the office today.

These six-core CPUs are codenamed Gulftown, and are based on the first generation Bloomfield core Core i7s that debuted last year. The first Gulftown CPU is scheduled to replace Intel's current fastest desktop CPU, the Core i7-975 Extreme Edition.

Gulftown isn't Intel's first six-core CPU - that honour goes to the hideously expensive and rarer than hens teeth Xeon 7400 series (codenamed Dunnington) which is based on the ageing Core architecture. Dunnington CPUs are designed for quad-socket servers and HPC applications that require 24 physical cores squeezed into one 4U rack-mountable chassis.

As we've managed to snag this Gulftown sample so early, Intel has yet to finalise the clock frequency that the retail chips will be sold at. As a result, our sample is clocked a fair bit lower than the retail chips will likely end up being. Even so, our initial test results look extremely promising.

Unfortunately, at this stage we can't publish these performance results, so you'll have to wait a little longer for any benchmark results. In the meantime you can prepare your wallets for demolition with some eye candy photos of these monstrously fast six-core CPUs. At Intel's request we've obscured the model numbers, but we can confirm that the sample we have runs at a higher frequency than [sorry, we can't say that yet - Ed].

Here's the Gulftown CPU (left) shot next to a LGA1366 Core i7-920 (right) - both CPUs fit in the LGA1366 CPU socket and work with the X58 chipset, and so look fairly similar. As you can see, the heatspreader and upper surface of the Gulftown CPU is identical to the older Bloomfield CPU.

Six-core Core i7s photographed in the bit-tech lab Six-core Core i7s spotted in the bit-tech lab

In contrast, the undersides of the two CPUs are completely different, with the Gulftown (left) having a much more uniform pattern of components than the Bloomfield (right).

Six-core Core i7s photographed in the bit-tech lab Six-core Core i7s spotted in the bit-tech lab

As soon as Intel gives us the go ahead to publish some benchmark results, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, are you looking forward to the new Gulftown CPUs, or do you think you'll stick with what you've got for the foreseeable future? Thoughts in the forum please!

53 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
yakyb 30th October 2009, 15:38 Quote
in a word


no!

nice to see you guys have them though
barndoor101 30th October 2009, 15:44 Quote
do want. very much
trig 30th October 2009, 15:52 Quote
i guess im curious why you guys are so handcuffed on your testing, but the guys over on extreme can post all their results all day long...
Zurechial 30th October 2009, 16:00 Quote
Considering I got stung by bad luck with my 920 and got an early-revision chip that needs 1.45v to boot at 4GHz and as much as 1.51v just to pass a Prime95 test, I'm sorely tempted to replace it with a Gulftown.

Not that I *need* to or anything, but running my 920 at 4GHz, 1.5v vCore 24/7 is bound to kill it sooner or later even with load temps of 65C. :p
Dave Lister 30th October 2009, 16:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by trig
i guess im curious why you guys are so handcuffed on your testing, but the guys over on extreme can post all their results all day long...

I was just thinkin' how much you guys seem to stick to the rules !
Kyocera 30th October 2009, 16:17 Quote
What please tell,am I supposed to do with 6 cores? run an online "Google-cloud" ; for the benefit of mankind???

I want a faster 4 core!! 8GHz!!!

Otherwise, I'll just buy the new Gt300 in 28nm process with integrated ARM cores and throw Intel out of my PC.
SMIFFYDUDE 30th October 2009, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Quote:
Originally Posted by trig
i guess im curious why you guys are so handcuffed on your testing, but the guys over on extreme can post all their results all day long...

I was just thinkin' how much you guys seem to stick to the rules !

They are working for the man now (Dennis Publishing).
matee 30th October 2009, 16:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by trig
i guess im curious why you guys are so handcuffed on your testing, but the guys over on extreme can post all their results all day long...

bit-tech are working on having good relationship with Intel. That way they can get the chips early every time and deliver solid testing results the second they receive a green light.
HandMadeAndroid 30th October 2009, 16:34 Quote
this time next year folk will be getting gooey eyed over 8 cores
Lizard 30th October 2009, 16:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by matee
bit-tech are working on having good relationship with Intel. That way they can get the chips early every time and deliver solid testing results the second they receive a green light.

I couldn't have said it better matee - thanks for saving me from having to write a similar official response :)

+1 rep
Almightyrastus 30th October 2009, 16:39 Quote
But when are we going to get every day normal stuff that properly uses anything more than a single core?
Zurechial 30th October 2009, 16:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
They are working for the man now (Dennis Publishing).

bit-tech has always been respectful of trade secrets, NDAs and the like from what I've seen - That's nothing specific to the Dennis era of bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by matee
bit-tech are working on having good relationship with Intel. That way they can get the chips early every time and deliver solid testing results the second they receive a green light.

And importantly, that kind of integrity works both ways - Companies like Intel, nVidia and AMD can trust bit-tech and by the same token so can we as consumers.
A lot of people here would much rather wait for the information and reviews from bit-tech than go straight for the leaks and news from less reputable sites.

Good journalistic/industrial relations work in everyone's favour in return for a little bit more patience. :)
FeRaL 30th October 2009, 16:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
But when are we going to get every day normal stuff that properly uses anything more than a single core?

There's a tool out there where you can get applications to run on certain cores only. I don't have a link to it but just google "permanent setting core affinity".
Tim S 30th October 2009, 17:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
But when are we going to get every day normal stuff that properly uses anything more than a single core?

There are lots of multi-core enabled apps out there today. Most are painfully slow on a single core.
Bindibadgi 30th October 2009, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by matee
bit-tech are working on having good relationship with Intel. That way they can get the chips early every time and deliver solid testing results the second they receive a green light.

Amen!

It's not only that, it's about getting the correct drivers, BIOS and application updates if necessary. The last thing we want to give our readers is the wrong impression on a product and it's co-products that are effectively still in beta.
null_x86 30th October 2009, 17:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
An early pre-production sample of Intel's first six-core Core i7 CPU arrived in the office today.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2009/10/30/six-core-core-i7-photographed/1

I really wish bit tech could get this right. Those are Gulftown i9s. Gulftown is only made for the i9 series, not i7.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core#Core_i9 is proof of that.

i7's are quad cores, not 6 cores.
Lizard 30th October 2009, 17:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by null_x86
I really wish bit tech could get this right. Those are Gulftown i9s. Gulftown is only made for the i9 series, not i7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core#Core_i9 is proof of that. i7's are quad cores, not 6 cores.

Umm, wikipedia isn't the most reliable source you know... more to the point the article is correct as Intel are still denying to us that Gulftown with be called Core i9.
Joeymac 30th October 2009, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeRaL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyrastus
But when are we going to get every day normal stuff that properly uses anything more than a single core?

There's a tool out there where you can get applications to run on certain cores only. I don't have a link to it but just google "permanent setting core affinity".

Or just right click on the process in the task manager. Though you would be wasting your time as locking a process to a core gives zero performance benefit... if it did then everyone would be doing it already.

As for multi-core apps. The only software I use a lot, and which bothers my processor enough to max out a core, is firefox. Most other things make use of at least 2 cores.
leexgx 30th October 2009, 17:38 Quote
if you use windows 7, it should be a lot better at keeping single threaded apps on 1 core (vista and xp woud some times put threads on HT cores but it has load on the real core that it was linked HT, so program would go half as fast some times depending what you was doing)
Kyocera 30th October 2009, 18:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard
I couldn't have said it better matee - thanks for saving me from having to write a similar official response :)

+1 rep
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
bit-tech has always been respectful of trade secrets, NDAs and the like from what I've seen - That's nothing specific to the Dennis era of bit.



And importantly, that kind of integrity works both ways - Companies like Intel, nVidia and AMD can trust bit-tech and by the same token so can we as consumers.
A lot of people here would much rather wait for the information and reviews from bit-tech than go straight for the leaks and news from less reputable sites.

Good journalistic/industrial relations work in everyone's favour in return for a little bit more patience. :)

Did you ever read Brighsideofnews and their coverage of Nvidia???
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Amen!



ohhh, sanctimonious .....pious in your reverence....
http://www.pickmusic.com/watch/322918/marilyn-manson/personal-jesus
Zurechial 30th October 2009, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyocera
Did you ever read Brighsideofnews and their coverage of Nvidia???
No, can't say I have. Why?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyocera

ohhh, sanctimonious .....pious in your reverence....

Wow. :|
E.E.L. Ambiense 30th October 2009, 18:25 Quote
It's because the B-T crew is chock-full of paramount professionals. 'Nuff said.

As far as Gulftown, I may actually finally upgrade to i7 since I was waiting on the refreshes. Like most here, I can't wait to see what you guys have to say about it. I can smell a new main-rig mod coming...
HourBeforeDawn 30th October 2009, 18:37 Quote
well I have been thinking of building a Core i7 rig that I wouldnt have to touch for a LONG time except for updating the video cards and well this should certainly do it lol
null_x86 30th October 2009, 18:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizard
Umm, wikipedia isn't the most reliable source you know...

Right... what about all the other sources out there saying the exact same thing??
Quote:
more to the point the article is correct as Intel are still denying to us that Gulftown with be called Core i9.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Bit Tech put out an article saying Intel was doing i9/Gulftown not too long ago. Go search for it. Also, name one place on the internet, that says i7 is Gulftown. You cant can you? i7 is Arrandale, Clarksfield, Lynnfield and Bloomfield.

http://www.techpowerup.com/img/09-06-24/47a.jpg

from http://www.techpowerup.com/97604/Details_on_Intel_s_Core_Brand_Product_Placement_Emerge_Gulftown_to_be_Named_Core_i9.html

That says i9.

Also, http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=175681

Thats the article/forum link that bit tech did on i9, which was CONFIRMED.

So believe me now?
D-Cyph3r 30th October 2009, 18:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
is bound to kill it sooner or later even with load temps of 65C. :p

65*C load is very acceptable for a 130w+ CPU....





Anyways, any hints on pricing? I'd imagine these are gonna be i7 Extreme Edition expensive.
smc8788 30th October 2009, 19:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by null_x86
Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

Erm, no, that's what Intel are telling us. Going along the same line of reasoning as others have said previously, I'm sure bit-tech are just publishing what they've been told by Intel themselves, so it wouldn't make sense to go on rumours rather than the word straight from the horse's mouth. Just because Gigabyte have said it will be called i9 doesn't make it so, and the name may not even be confirmed yet.

Now I think about it, what does it even matter anyway? i7, i9, it's still the same CPU underneath.

Just for future reference: quoting Wikipedia is fine, but as soon as you claim it as a source of fact then all the credibility your argument had just went out the window.
Lizard 30th October 2009, 19:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by null_x86
Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Bit Tech put out an article saying Intel was doing i9/Gulftown not too long ago. Go search for it. Also, name one place on the internet, that says i7 is Gulftown. You cant can you? i7 is Arrandale, Clarksfield, Lynnfield and Bloomfield.

Keep telling myself what? If you read the article we put up a few weeks back, it said that Gigabyte was claiming that Gulftown will be called i9, not Intel, and certainly not bit-tech.

Until Intel tell us it's not called Core i7 (and they haven't) then we're going to carry on calling it what the manufacturer does - not what a rumour started by Gigabyte does, or what another journalist does (as we don't know what their sources are).
Kyocera 30th October 2009, 19:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.E.L. Ambiense
It's because the B-T crew is chock-full of paramount professionals. 'Nuff said.

:) :) :) :)

paramount, yes; bluestockings at heart :D :) (pre-18th century meaning, of course).
Zurechial 30th October 2009, 20:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
65*C load is very acceptable for a 130w+ CPU...

Yeah, I'm pleased with the temps.
Hell, I'd be disappointed with anything higher than that, with the CPU watercooled with 2 radiators (2x120, 3x120) ! :p

My worry is the voltage - I could be wrong, but surely a voltage that high is bound to damage the silicon in the long term even when the temps are low?
Either way, it's running nicely at the moment. :)
D-Cyph3r 30th October 2009, 20:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
My worry is the voltage - I could be wrong, but surely a voltage that high is bound to damage the silicon in the long term even when the temps are low?
Either way, it's running nicely at the moment. :)

Downclock then. :P


I used to feel like I was wasting any CPU I had unless I had it running at the absolute highest I could keep it 23/7 stable (there was always some game or app that didn't like my overclock), including a 4.4Ghz Wolfie and 3.8Ghz Qx6800, then I realised it was making ZERO difference to my general computer usage. Games were still GPU limited, everything else was still HDD limited. For the extra heat, electric use and headaches overclocking causes I just don't consider it worth it anymore personally. The 2.8Ghz PII 720 i'm using now feels just as fast as the 3.8Ghz QX I had before. :)


Anyways, to avoid this being a completely off topic post i'll keep pestering for price hints! Amirite with Extreme Edition prices? Would make sense as they'll be considerably faster than Nehelam in fully multi threaded apps and AMD's Thuban CPU's aren't due to Q1 2010 (even that may be optimistic).
trig 30th October 2009, 20:48 Quote
i dont think i asked the question correctly. im not asking why bit doesnt release things they aren't supposed to, i get nda's and all that. i just don't get: why the guy on xtreme had one so soon and could post whatever he wanted, but bit had to sign an nda or w/e and cant say anything about it yet...
D-Cyph3r 30th October 2009, 21:18 Quote
My guess would be the guy on XS didn't sign an NDA at all. Those boys have contacts is Asia that can get ES chips at the drop of a hat it seems.... Lucky buggers.
Bindibadgi 30th October 2009, 21:35 Quote
i7, i9; who cares? If it does become i9 - after Intel tells us so - then the final article will read i9.

Our philosophy is that the publication adheres to stuff based on fact, not rumour, unless strictly stipulated otherwise. This way we are entirely transparent and you always know what you are reading.
Aracos 30th October 2009, 22:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by E.E.L. Ambiense
It's because the B-T crew is chock-full of paramount professionals. 'Nuff said.

You obviously haven't been listening to the podcasts lately, especially the vasaline one XD Oh well at least it's a fun and informative podcast, even if it's not completely professional :P
frontline 30th October 2009, 23:20 Quote
"As we've managed to snag this Gulftown sample so early, Intel has yet to finalise the clock frequency that the retail chips will be sold at. As a result, our sample is clocked a fair bit lower than the retail chips will likely end up being. Even so, our initial test results look extremely promising

Cool, more Intel pre-release hype machine
infi 30th October 2009, 23:40 Quote
looking forward to? ... yeah sometime maybe, when they cost the same I paid for my 920.
ChuckyP83 31st October 2009, 02:27 Quote
Sour grapes much everyone (well, some people). does it matter if its an i9 or an i7 other than for some internet dude to tell a reputable source of standup dudes like Bit-Tech "I told you so! Nah Nah!". I mean get a life. Arguing over semantics about a future Intel processor. I am excited about six cores if only because quads will get even cheaper. Though you can't count on Intel actually pricing their parts fairly... I wish AMD was more competitive in the high end...
Autti 31st October 2009, 03:14 Quote
I wonder if they can replicate K|ngp|n's over clocking results, he got 6.2Ghz on LN2 and 4.6Ghz on air, that is seriously impressive for a 6 core CPU, oh and for those wanting benchmarks he got 13k CPU score on 3dMark06 on LN2.
lenne0815 31st October 2009, 03:33 Quote
hmm i dont care so much for the benchmark scores yet, especially with the chips not even released, whats much more intreseting is the price point they will sell at and thereby if its worth to wait ??
OWNED66 31st October 2009, 08:30 Quote
will it run .... nvm
Bindibadgi 31st October 2009, 09:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline

Cool, more Intel pre-release hype machine

We offer the exact same to AMD, who never want to take us up on it.

A little hype gets people talking anyway :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyocera
ohhh, sanctimonious .....pious in your reverence....
http://www.pickmusic.com/watch/322918/marilyn-manson/personal-jesus

If you have a problem, Kyocera, I'm all ears. I was merely explaining how it is.
Kyocera 31st October 2009, 21:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
If you have a problem, Kyocera, I'm all ears. I was merely explaining how it is.

My comment was not directed at you; the post from Lizard was the centerpiece; I have edited for better understanding.

If you would take some time to think what another person tries to communicate, you'd see less "problems". Possibly even save some of your nerves in the process.
Considering that two members evolved the thought, there was not much to mule about.
[USRF]Obiwan 2nd November 2009, 10:52 Quote
So..

Any news about the new AMD 6core?
telemetry 2nd November 2009, 11:54 Quote
6 cores? From what I understand - there is a limit in terms of efficiency when using multiple cores. Threading isn't all that efficient. Of course it's great to have multiple cores if software fully utilizes it - but is that happening now?

I have Quad core performing at 3707 mhz but how many pieces of software actually use that peformance efficiently? Half life 2? Even valve couldn't stop their J-U-D-D-E-R-S in HL2 with hyper threading in their code.

It's much more satisfying to get the most out of your existing hardware than being stuck in these upgrade loops when manufacturers hope we will jump onto their ever increasing release schedules for new hardware. Existing Core 2 Quad chips can still give Core i5/i7 a run for their money with a little creativity and some overclocking and efficient cooling.

I would love to know what happens to all these "redundant" systems that most people never even used to their full potential before they upgrade to the next platform?>
telemetry 2nd November 2009, 11:57 Quote
What about custom pc doing an article on how to get the most out of LGA 775 when people are struggling financially?

We need to start thinking more responsibly about upgrades in terms of the planet's resources and what people can afford. Intel did not take the LGA 775 to its fullest potential - there is a lot more room for performance increases and new chips.
Bindibadgi 2nd November 2009, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by telemetry
What about custom pc doing an article on how to get the most out of LGA 775 when people are struggling financially?

We need to start thinking more responsibly about upgrades in terms of the planet's resources and what people can afford. Intel did not take the LGA 775 to its fullest potential - there is a lot more room for performance increases and new chips.

I disagree. Intel basically exhausted the front side bus model completely. Over the course of its life Custom PC and bit-tech have done plenty of overclocking articles and features on LGA775 if you look back into the archives, not to mention the forum search should yield some good results too.

The only thing lacking from the computing equation is a proper recycling policy, but Intel and AMD are both RoHS, Halide and Bromide free now, and second hand PC hardware is readily available for those financially unavailable to the latest high performance hardware.
[USRF]Obiwan 2nd November 2009, 14:57 Quote
I just read that AMD is going to introduce their Hexacore (Thuban) earlier then previously announced:
AMD will also bring forward the launch of its six-core desktop CPU codenamed Thuban to the second quarter of 2010. Thuban adopts a 45nm process and socket AM3 packaging, while featuring six 512KB L2 cache, 6MB L3 cache, and a core frequency of 2.8GHz.

I think it is a response to the Intel 6core introduction..
Bindibadgi 14th December 2009, 13:53 Quote
barndoor101 14th December 2009, 13:59 Quote
so just when the intel cpu naming scheme was starting to make a little sense...
null_x86 14th December 2009, 23:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by barndoor101
so just when the intel cpu naming scheme was starting to make a little sense...

thats putting it lightly...
Krikkit 14th December 2009, 23:39 Quote
Why is that so confusing? Sounds ok to me. :)
barndoor101 15th December 2009, 08:17 Quote
well before they switched to a different x00 number to show different features, ie

9xx was 4 core, 8 thread, triple channel
8xx was 4 core, 8 thread, dual channel
7xx was 4 core, 4 thread, dual channel

there will be 6xx (clarkdale with integrated gpu), 3xx (the dual core ones), so i was expecting any 6 core/12 thread cpu to have a higher number (ie either core i9 or 10xx).

but no. i wonder how nvidia will react to this challenge in the naming convolution competition?
DeadMan 15th December 2009, 12:38 Quote
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