November 18, 2008 Intel has launched what it is touting as the fastest desktop processor on the planet. The Intel Core i7 processor is Intel’s most advanced desktop processor ever and is the first member of their new Nehalem family of processor designs. The Core i7 holds a new world record of 117 for the SPECint_base_rate2006 benchmark test – the first time any single processor has exceeded 100 points. It incorporates new technologies that boost performance on demand and maximize data throughput to speed video editing, resource hungry 3D games and other Internet and computer activities by up to 40 per cent without increasing power consumption.

The processor uses Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology to accelerate performance to match a user’s needs and workloads through a sophisticated on-die power control unit and by using new “power gate” transistors based on Intel’s advanced 45 nanometer, high-k metal gate manufacturing process. This allows Turbo Boost to automatically adjust the clock speed of one or more of the four individual processing cores for single- and multi-threaded applications to boost performance, without increasing power consumption. The Core i7 also has the latest Intel power-saving technologies, allowing desktops to go into sleep states formerly reserved for Intel-based notebooks.

The Core i7 processor more than doubles the memory bandwidth of previous Intel “Extreme” platforms, speeding the transfer of data in and out of the processor with Intel Quickpath Technology while Hyper-Threading Technology allows multiple computing threads to run simultaneously, effectively enabling it to do two things at once. As a result, the Core i7 quad-core processor delivers 8-threaded performance. And to give 3D gamers something to drool over the Intel Core i7 processor also performs over 40 per cent faster than previous Intel high-performance processors on both the 3DMark Vantage CPU physics and AI tests with the Extreme Edition using 8 threads to run games with advanced artificial intelligence and physics.

Intel will be adding to the new Nehalem microarchitecture family with server and mobile product versions planned for production later. Each Core i7 processor features an 8 MB level 3 cache and three channels of DDR3 1066 memory. For power hungry hobbyists the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition also removes overspeed protection.

The Intel Core i7 processors and Intel X58 Express Chipset based Intel Desktop Board DX58SO Extreme Series are available now but, as expected, the latest and greatest technology comes at a price. The new chips start at USD$284 for the Intel Core i7- 920 running at 2.66GHz, the Intel Core i7- 940 running at 2.93GHz retails for USD$562, while the 3.2Ghz Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition goes for USD$999.

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