Intel extends lead with Core i7-2700K chip

Intel has turned up the heat on rival AMD's new Bulldozer chips with the launch of the Core i7-2700K, the fastest Sandy Bridge processor yet released.

Running 100MHz faster than the previous top-end Core i7-2600K chip - and featuring overclocking capabilities through an unlocked multiplier, as indicated by the K suffix - the new chip promises to extend Intel's lead over its rival's latest product.

Built on the same Socket 1155 package as its predecessors, the quad-core chip runs at 3.5GHz - 3.9GHz when running in 'Turbo Boost' mode, which disables underused processor cores to provide more power for single-threaded applications - and includes 8MB of cache memory.

As with the Core i7-2600K before it, the i7-2700K includes on-chip Intel HD 3000 graphics running at 850MHz, and has a thermal design profile of 95W.

Priced at around £290 for pre-order at UK retailers, the retail boxed package is around £40 more expensive than the slower Core i7-2600K, and thus far there's little indication of how much extra real-world performance the 100MHz - just shy of three per cent - speed boost truly offers.

The launch will come as extra heartache to AMD, which has seen its latest Bulldozer-based chips bested in bechmarks by Intel's existing Core i7-2600K processor. Where AMD still has the edge, however, is in pricing: while the FX-8150 processor may be slower than Intel's latest offering in benchmarks while drawing an extra 30W of power, it's significantly cheaper at around £200 for a retail boxed chip.

Intel is not thought to be reducing the prices of any of its existing Core processor series to accomodate the new top-end model.