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Rumour: Intel Core i7 975 for the chop

With a raft of new Intel chipsets and sockets waiting in the wings for next year, it looks as though the chip maker is already planning to cull its Core i7 chips. According to the latest rumours, Intel's top-end Core i7 975 Extreme processor is lined up for the chop early next year.

The news comes courtesy of Expreview, which claims Intel has "announced" its plans to send the premium chip to its retirement home on February 18 2011. According to the site, both the tray and boxed versions will be phased out, with the latter remaining on sale until the stock runs out, while the former will only be available until 19 August.

However, the "announcement" appears to be news to Intel. Speaking to THINQ, a spokesperson for the chip maker dismissed the gossip as "rumour and speculation," and declined to comment on the matter any further.

Even so, those are very specific dates, and it would make sense for Intel to retire the chip in this timeframe.

Launched in the second quarter of 2009, the 45nm Core i7 975 Extreme is clocked at 3.33GHz, and features four cores and Hyper-Threading support, as well as a toasty TDP of 130W. With its unlocked multiplier, the CPU currently fetches an exorbitant price of £776.99 inc VAT.

However, the top-end processor has already been usurped by the hexacore Core i7 980X, which has its six cores clocked at exactly same speed, and costs less than £20 more. What's more, Intel's also lining up two new CPU sockets for next year, including the LGA2011 socket for high-end CPUs. When this happens, it's fair to say that a quad-core Extreme CPU isn't going to looks quite so extreme any more.

In addition to canning the Core i7 975, the site also claims Intel is planning to delete the Pentium E5300 and Celeron E3200 in the same time-frame.