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UPDATE: Core i7: Blazing Fast, O/C Changes

Conclusion--Screaming Fast With Overclocking "Protection"

Unlike the Core 2 Quads, which still consisted of two dual-core CPUs, the Core i7 is a native quad-core processor. On the whole, the new processors are more efficient, although the system does draw more power at the platform level than the previous generation.

The performance comparison with long-time rival AMD’s offerings is nothing short of painful. The fastest Core i7, the 965 Extreme, is 64% faster than AMD’s current flagship CPU, the Phenom X4 9950 BE. Across our benchmark suite, the AMD processors never placed better than towards the lower middle of the field, tending instead to fill the lower spots.

However, Intel has also created some competition for itself, because the Core i7 is clearly superior to the Core 2 CPUs where performance is concerned. Surprisingly, the reintroduction of Hyper-Threading technology has no small part in this performance leap.

The platform itself brings a few drawbacks to the table, at present. The new CPUs will only work on expensive boards based on Intel’s current high-end chipset, the X58. Also, it runs exclusively with DDR3 memory, which isn’t exactly cheap either. The new LGA1366 socket also requires a new cooler.

Meanwhile, AMD falls even further behind in the x86 performance rankings, leaving price as its only counter-argument.