The Roadmap: Sandy Bridge in 2011

Like Bloomfield, Gulftown may end up having a relatively long lifespan at the top of the charts. Below is Intel’s current desktop roadmap through the beginning of 2011. You’ll notice that when Sandy Bridge arrives, it’s going to be limited to two and four core configurations. Performance per core will improve, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see an ultra high end version of Sandy Bridge until at least Q2 or Q3 of next year.


A wafer of Gulftown

The verdict isn’t out on whether or not Sandy Bridge will require a new motherboard. It is possible to make the chip work in existing LGA-1156 motherboards, but that requires additional validation that Intel may not be willing to commit to at this point. The decision isn’t final yet and Intel is telling its partners to expect a new chipset (6-series) and thus new motherboards to support the chip at this point.

The next point of interest is the Core i7 970, which is apparently a cheaper Gulftown due out next quarter. It slots in above the Core i7 960 and 870, meaning it may be priced somewhere in the $600 - $900 range. The very first Extreme Edition carried a $740 price tag. I’d guess that we’d see a 3.2GHz default clock speed on that part.


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A 12MB L3 Cache: 50% Larger, 14% Higher Latency The Heatsink
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  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    [QUOTE]With up to 6 cores running at 3.46GHz, Gulftown is not only the fastest CPU in Intel’s lineup, it’s also the fastest quad-core Intel makes.[/QUOTE]

    I think you meant to say it's also the fastest "single-core" Intel makes.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    quote:

    Did I mention that with a BIOS update it’s fully compatible with all X58 motherboards? That’s right, even if you bought a board in November 2008 - you can upgrade directly to Gulftown.


    And for only one thouuuuusand dollars! What a deal!!

    lol yeah, anyone who spent $999 on an X58 CPU can now spend $999 on a new cpu 18 months later. $2000 for two CPUs in the course of 18 months. How you can spin that as being a good thing boggles the mind. What a waste!
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Well, maybe you spent the ~$280 or so on a 920 in November 08, which you could now upgrade to the 980X if you wanted. Considering Intel's past history of supporting new processors on older motherboards (see, for example, P965 and Penryn) it is nice that this is supported, even if the upgrade is extremely expensive. Reply
  • BelardA - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Kinda sad and funny... when core 2 came out, it destroyed the P4 line and of course kicked AMD down bad.

    Even todays $65 intels and $45 AMDs (running about 2ghz) are still faster than those older Pentium EE chips. And what was sadder back then was that even AMD's $200 CPUs were still faster than the $1000 intels... unless your were doing 3D work and encoding video.

    *sigh*

    Thanks to intel's back-room deals with the major PC companies, the illegal activities has hurt competition. AMD is doing better today, but have little to work with. And we see what the lack of competition does such as ATI vs. Nvidia.

    Reply
  • andyleung - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Why they keep the CPU frequency so high? All consumer quad cores go higher than 2.5GHz??? I really like Opterons, low frequency with more cores.

    Seriously I hope Phenom VI (I made it up, they may call it something else) could have a model of 6 cores with each running 1.2GHz.

    My own usage is mostly programming in JEE + documentation, so I need more cores but not that fast, so I could save a few bucks on my electricity bill in a year. :)
    Reply
  • yuchai - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    You can always underclock/undervolt if you don't need the performance from the extra speed but want the power savings.

    Note that this is the "Extreme" version, so it makes sense to have the fastest speeds possible. The mainstream versions that are coming will probably have lower clock speeds.
    Reply
  • at80eighty - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Maybe I missed it - but would this have any predicted implications on the 920 price over this year span?

    I'm rebuilding a rig a component at a time and Im wondering if there would be much variance if I picked a 920 now or in Q4

    /tard
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    "The first Core i7 did not power gate its L3 cache, Lynnfield added it and Gulftown has it as well."

    THANK YOU ANAND!!

    No wonder this is my #1 favored site. :D
    Reply
  • darkhawkff - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    I don't know about anyone else, but I would have liked to have seen how this chip fares to overclocks of Intel's other Core i7 series. While I'm sure many people don't bother overclocking, I would wager that most people who visit this site do, and probably bought into the Core i7 920 series and overclocked it to 4 GHz or more. While I'm sure the Core i7 980X is a beast, I'd be more interested in seeing how it fares when overclocked parts are taken into account, because personally I see very little reason to make the jump from the 920 to the 980 after this review. 2 more cores are nice, but not when they are slower. Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, March 11, 2010 - link

    Anand, can you please include newer software for some benches. For instance you are still using 3DS Max 9 which was released in 2006.
    The latest is 3DS MaX 2010 (version 12).

    I only ask because i'm sure that anyone who can afford this CPU can ceratinly afford the latest 3D rendering/modelling software. And besides that they might have better support/performance for these type of CPU's.
    Reply

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