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Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition CPU review

by Parm Mann on 8 April 2011, 07:09 3.5

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Test Methodology

The Intel Core i7 990X is essentially a higher-clocked 980X, so we won't dwell on architecture. You can read more about the inner workings of 32nm Westmere chips in a previous article, but for today's review we'll dive right into benchmarks by comparing the 990X with the dozen alternatives detailed in the table below.

Comparison CPUs

  Core i7 990X EE Core i7 980X EE Core i7 970 Core i7 950 Core i7 2600K Core i5 2500K Core i7 870 Core i5 750 Core i5 650 Phenom II X6 1100T BE Phenom II X6 1055T Phenom II X4 975 BE Athlon II X4 645
UK Price £780 £760 £440 £190 £240 £165 £220 £150 £140 £170 £125 £145 £75
Frequency 3.46GHz 3.33GHz 3.20GHz 3.06GHz 3.40GHz 3.30GHz 2.93GHz 2.66GHz 3.20GHz 3.30GHz 2.80GHz 3.60GHz 3.10GHz
Max turbo 3.73GHz 3.60GHz 3.46GHz 3.33GHz 3.80GHz 3.70GHz 3.60GHz 3.20GHz 3.46GHz 3.70GHz 3.30GHz N/A N/A
L2 Cache 1.5MB 1.5MB 1.5MB 1MB 1MB 1MB 1MB 1MB 0.5MB 3MB 3MB 2MB 2MB
L3 Cache 12MB 12MB 12MB 8MB 8MB 6MB 8MB 8MB 4MB 6MB 6MB 6MB N/A
Cores / threads 6/12 6/12 6/12 4/8 4/8 4/4 4/8 4/4 2/4 6/6 6/6 4/4 4/4
Process 32nm 32nm 32nm 45nm 32nm 32nm 45nm 45nm 32nm 45nm 45nm 45nm 45nm
Socket LGA1366 LGA1366 LGA1366 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1155 LGA1156 LGA1156 LGA1156 AM3 AM3 AM3 AM3
TDP 130W 130W 130W 130W 95W 95W 95W 95W 73W 125W 95W 125W 95W

Test Rig Specification

Motherboard ASUS P6X58D Premium (X58) ASUS P8P67 Deluxe (P67) ASUS P7P55D (P55) Gigabyte H57M (H57) ASUS Crosshair IV Formula (890FX)
Memory 6GB (3 x 2GB) Corsair DDR3 4GB (2 x 2GB) Corsair DDR3 4GB (2 x 2GB) Corsair DDR3
Memory speed 9-9-9-24 2T @ DDR3 1,333 9-9-9-24 2T @ DDR3 1,600 9-9-9-24 2T @ DDR3 1,333 9-9-9-24 2T @ DDR3 1,600
Graphics card AMD Radeon HD 6950 (2,048MB)
Disk drive Corsair Nova V128 SSD
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
PSU Corsair HX1000W


AIDA64 v1.50.1200 memory bandwidth and L3 latency
HEXUS.PiFast to 10m places
iTunes 10.1 MP3 encoding
CINEBENCH R11.5 multi-CPU, 64-bit
wPrime v2.04
CyberLink MediaShow Espresso 6
TrueCrypt 7.0a encryption benchmark
7zip v9.20 built-in file-compression benchmark
3DMark Vantage b1.2.0 overall score - performance setting
Call of Duty: Black Ops- 1,280x768 low quality and 1,680x1,050 high quality
StarCraft II - 1,280x800 low quality and 1,680x1,050 medium quality
Power-consumption tests - idle and load (wPrime)
Overclocking - Intel Core i7 990X