Intel launches cut-price hexacore chip

If you were hoping Intel's next hexacore chip wasn't going to cost you the best part of the proverbial arm and leg, then gear yourself up for some disillusionment. Intel has now officially launched the non-Extreme Core i7 970, but it's very far from cheap.

It'll currently set you back a good £711.56 inc VAT to land your mitts on a Core i7 970, making it only £83.15 cheaper than the top-end Core i7 980X Extreme Edition. This is pretty disappointing when you consider the 980X is an Extreme-branded chip with an unlocked multiplier, while the 970 is a standard chip.

Nevertheless, the Core i7 970 is at least a small step in the right direction when it comes to making hexacore chips more affordable. The LGA1366 chip is based on the same 32nm Gulftown architecture as the Core i7 980X, and features the usual triple-channel memory controller and support for TurboBoost, as well as 12MB of shared Level 3 cache.

Clocked at 3.2GHz, the 970's stock clock speed is only 133MHz slower than the 980X, which explains the small difference in price to a degree.

The official launch confirms previous rumours about the chip that cropped up last month, although the word is that there's also another flavour of Core i7 970 in the works. Currently referred to as the "≥i7-970", it's possible the other version will have an unlocked multiplier, although the vanilla 970 would have to drop in price to make an unlocked version worth any extra money.

A few reviews have already gone up, including this in-depth test by the guys at fellow UK tech site Bit-Tech.