Gulftown is without any doubt the most powerful processor we have ever laid hands on and it raises the bar for performance by almost 50% compared to Bloomfield. As such, the Core i7-980X is probably the first Extreme Edition to get excited about and arguably it is even worth the US$999.- price tag.
Aside from the raw processing power, the other hi-light of the “980X” is its energy efficiency – of course with the caveat that we can only factor in core power as opposed to core plus L3 cache and uncore, which necessarily come into play when we are looking into processors with a common supply plane as in the case of AMD’s architecture.
This said, there are a few caveats that are outside the hardware and relate primarily to the current software landscape. Some applications will not run on 6 cores, even if they are multithreaded, other applications that depend primarily on memory bandwidth will have a minor set-back compared to the i7-965 or 975. The good thing with respect to the first issue is that the “level of badness” will hopefully penetrate the ignorance at some of the software manufacturers and force them to get their act together. You snooze, you lose.
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