Two months ago, when I finished testing Intel’s Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K, I came to the conclusion that you’d have to be battier than Charlie Sheen with a suitcase of blow to spend $1000 on a Core i7-980X Extreme Edition in the face of Sandy Bridge-based CPUs. I was so convinced, in fact, that I didn’t bother benchmarking the super-exclusive chip, and instead focused on drilling deep into Quick Sync and Intel’s HD Graphics engines.
Now, in the face of a new flagship processor, we see that there are actually situations where a Core i7-900-series chip still makes sense. Frankly, enthusiasts and gamers need not apply. You can get so much value from the Core i5-2500K for $230 that it’s entirely worth waiting for new P67-based motherboards before you buy something new. Or, hold off for Z68, which will have some surprises of its own. The $770 you pocket as a result of not buying an Extreme Edition CPU buys a sick set of GeForce GTX 570s in SLI and a couple terabytes of storage.
But if your workstation is responsible for making you money; if it’s a true workhorse that you know for a fact muscles through threaded software like Premiere Pro, 3ds Max, and MainConcept (among others), then there’s a legitimate business case for buying the highest-end processor possible. And if you’re in that position, you can probably calculate exactly how long it’ll take for the Core i7-990X to pay for itself.
More so now than ever before, Intel’s X58 Express platform is being pegged as a 1P server/workstation configuration, and not a power user’s toy. There are limited reasons you’d actually want to spend $1000 on a processor in light of Sandy Bridge’s potency. The reasons are there though, and we’ve illustrated where you can expect to see them surface…
…granted, it’d be a lot more fun to win Intel’s six-core flagship in a random giveaway, wouldn’t it? Well, we can make that happen—and all you have to do is enter. We’ve opened up the stash box, and here’s what we have:
- 2 x Combo Intel Core i7-990X and Intel DX58SO2 Motherboard: Value of $1261
- 1 x Combo Intel Core i7-980X and Intel DX58SO2 Motherboard: Value of $1261
- 2 x Combo Intel Core i7-950 and Intel DX58SO2 Motherboard: Value of $556
- 25 x one-month supply of Sparkling ICE water (two cases): Value of $54
The contest is going on between now and the end of the day, March 10th. Click here for the entry-sheet and a full list of rules.