Intel has made the fastest even faster, and with success. We can't stress enough though that the move from 965 to 975 is an awfully small step in the evolution of this processor architecture. But yeah, it surely brings more performance for the same amount of money. That amount of money is still as shocking as its performance though. You need to put a full G on the table to be able to purchase this processor. And that is its biggest negative factor of course. Also keep in mind, it's not only the processor you need to purchase, you are bound to a motherboard that starts at 200 USD and you probably are going to pick up some snazzy 150 USD triple channel memory as well.
The setup we used, eVGA X58 classified, 6GB OCZ 2133 MHz DDR3 and processor all alone sum up to 2000 USD already.
So while I love this platform, the release of Core i7 975 remains a little weird. See, surely looking at it from baseline performance, it's a little faster. Yet I do feel there was just no real need to release this processor. Especially with the economy the way it is I ask myself, how many people are actually interested in this, let alone are able to purchase it? Also factor this in, the people who bought a 965 a couple of months ago, did exactly the same that I did... pop it in and clock it at 3.75~4.0 GHz instantly. The flexibility is already there in the C0 stepping of the processor. I guess what I am saying is that from an upgrade point of view, the 975 is not at all that interesting.
On the flip side of the coin, if you were about to purchase a 965 processor, then you can get this 975 for the same money, get the new D0 stepping and be a little faster. Everything is relative of course. And I do dare to state that the new D0 stepping overclocks a little better as well.
One thing is a sure fact, the Nehalem architecture has proven to be extremely fast and competitive. Overall, the architecture brings a truckload of performance versus fairly decent power consumption levels. When the processor is peaking, sure, it uses a good amount of current. But in idle or desktop mode that CPU clocks down to a very power efficient little gobbler where the system will idle at 170 watts of power consumption.
So guys, it all boils down to this. Core i7 is a majestic processor series leading far in the high-end stretch of things. The money you will need to put down on the table for the Core i7 975 XE of course can hardly be justified, but that is the reality of this very high-end game. Gaming wise remember this, only if you have a multi-GPU setup... a processor like this would show enough advantage in your gaming experience to justify this purchase.
For those of you who consistently encode/transcode multimedia files the reality is simple, it won't get any better than with this CPU for a long time. However in a normal situation with normal daily usage of the PC and playing games with say, a single Radeon HD 4890 or GeForce GTX 285... you will not benefit from a processor clocked this fast, that's a sheer reality as well.
But no matter how expensive the processor really is, or how important it will be for the PC infrastructure... we love and adore the high-end Core i7 processors. Putting 999 USD on the table is like getting stabbed in the back voluntarily, but... the minute after installation you'll have forgotten that price and retain a smile on your face that will last a freakishly long time while blowing little kisses to your PC... and that's the sheer reality of Core i7, it's the best of the best.
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