After playing with many of the Nehalem machines dotted around IDF, it looks like the fastest Intel Core i7 processor at launch will be clocked at 3.2GHz.
Intel hasn't revealed the official speeds and model numbers for its new processor yet, but just about every machine we looked at was kitted out with a 3.2GHz processor... with model numbers masked away for the time being.
Even the Lost Planet: Colonies
demo during Pat Gelsinger's keynote used a 3.2GHz Core i7 processor to compare performance side by side with a Core 2 Extreme QX9770, which is also clocked at the same speed. Now, I know he was talking about architectural advancements and improvements that Intel had made, but it all seems rather coincidental to me.
Of course, Intel will not officially comment on launch speeds at the moment, so we'll have to wait until either closer to the time, or indeed the Core i7 launch date to find out official speeds.
The other question I'm sure people are wanting to know the answer to is whether the newer Core i7 processors will have a lower power consumption than the Yorkfield-based quad-core processors they'll be replacing. That's an unknown at the moment unfortunately, but if past record is anything to go by, don't expect the Extreme Edition to have a TDP any lower than 130W.
After all, the process technology hasn't changed between Nehalem and Yorkfield, just the architecture behind the two chips. Of course, Nehalem also packs an integrated memory controller onto the CPU die--removing the need for a separate MCH/north bridge--so this may result in higher TDPs, but Intel may have worked some magic to keep the TDP the same.
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