Intel’s i7-990X EE ready to go

What we presume will be Intel's last iteration of the Gulftown processor, the Core i7-990X Extreme Edition, has reached the page listings of known European e-tailer, Geizhals.

The processor, which isn't yet listed on Intel's official documentation, replaces the i7-980X as top dog. It carries with it a 130W TDP rating, which is where Intel usually draws the line, and packs six cores manufactured on the company's 32nm process. Being the Nehalem derivative that it is, the L2 cache is the usual 256KB multiplied by the number of cores, with the Extreme Edition pedigree giving it 12MB of shared L3 cache. The built-in DDR3 controller retains a solid PC3-8500U rating, meaning of course it is for standard 1066MHz operation. The Gulftown chip, which is a presumable B1 silicon, is otherwise identical to the 980X in all its architectural aspects.

The cores are clocked at 3.46GHz but it looks like the Turbo Boost will only get you as high as 3.6GHz, which is clearly a sign that you're already flying very close to the processor's operating ceiling. The site listing states it has an unlocked multiplier, which bodes well if you're into extreme overclocking or just have a huge ego.

Despite being a relatively minor 133MHz bump in the bigger scheme of things (the upcoming lower-end CPU+GPU combos are far more interesting right now), Intel has taken you as high as it comfortably can, and will still rake in the dosh with an expected >£1000 price tag on this one - a paltry price to pay for the most powerful desktop processor to date.

We don't imagine many will pick this up in retail, but some custom machine builders will go out of their way to knock this into a box, overclock it and liquid-cool into silent submission. We know we would.