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Intel Core i7 970 review

Intel makes its six-core masterpiece more affordable. But only a little

Our Verdict

A six-core masterpiece in 32nm silicon. Shame about the grand-master pricing, though.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Hexa-core (6 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Monster six-core performance
  • Plenty of overclocking headroom

Against

  • Excruciatingly expensive
  • LGA1,366 socket is on its last legs

Six cores, 12 threads, one billion transistors and a whole lotta processing power. That's the Intel Core i7 970. It's a fabulous technological achievement. But can it really be worth nearly £700?

Admittedly, the Core i7 970 is a bit cheaper than Intel's top six-core chip, the Core i7 980X. But it's still a tough ask given that AMD will sell you its own six-core Phenom II X6 1055T CPU for around one third the price. What the AMD chip doesn't give you, however, is the very latest technology. The Core i7 970 sports literally the most advanced PC processor die on the planet.

Part of the 970's advantage comes down to microprocessor architecture. Known as Nehalem, it's as good as it currently gets thanks to features such as HyperThreading, a triple-channel memory controller and the super-fast QPI interconnect.

The Core i7 970 is also hewn from Intel's latest 32nm silicon. That means the chip itself is physically smaller than most current quad-core processors including Intel's own Core i7 870 and AMD's Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. In theory that means it should be cheaper to manufacture. For now, Intel isn't passing on those cost savings to customers.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreHexa-core (6 Core)
Thermal Design Power130 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i7 i7-900
L3 Cache12 MB
Clock Speed3.20 GHz
Processor SocketSocket B LGA-1366
Brand NameIntel
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification67.9°C
QuickPath Interconnect4.80 GT/s
L2 Cache1.50 MB
Product Seriesi7-900
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli7-970
Product NameCore i7 Hexa-core i7-970 3.2GHz Desktop Processor
Product LineCore i7
Manufacturer Part NumberAT80613005490AD
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.intel.co.uk
Marketing InformationBrilliantly fast

With faster, intelligent, multi-core technology that applies processing power where it's needed most, Intel Core i7 processors deliver an incredible breakthrough in PC performance. They are the best desktop processor family on the planet.

You'll multitask applications faster and unleash incredible digital media creation. And you'll experience maximum performance for everything you do, thanks to the combination of Intel Turbo Boost technology and Intel Hyper-Threading technology (Intel HT technology), which maximizes performance to match your workload.

Process Technology32 nm