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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [11.02.08]
Manufactured by: Intel


The Test

Now that we know what we need to know about Nehalem, Core i7, and X58, let's put them to the test!

First, we should talk price. Since this platform represents such a significant jump in potential performance, you would expect the price to reflect that. However, Intel has taken a more modest approach with pricing, putting the new Core i7's pretty much in line with the Penryn-based models they are supplanting.

Here's a look at how the prices break down:

Keep in mind that the Core i7 prices above are wholesale prices, for 1000-unit quantities, and we're comparing them to the lowest retail prices found using our search engine.

As you can see, the new Core i7 models each directly replace the top three Core 2 Quads. After retail markup, they will be a bit more expensive, but this gives us a good idea on how they compare. There is no equivalent to AMD's top-of-the-line $200 quad core CPU at this time, but we expect a Core i7 8xx model to show up some time next year.

Since the prices line up so well, these are the exact CPUs we'll be using in this review. I match up the colours with the prices, so you can keep an eye on the Core i7 that is in your price range, and compare it to the Core 2 Quad you would be considering.

The Specs

Here is how our platforms were configured:

Core i7 Motherboard: Intel DX58SO (Intel X58 IOH / ICH10R chipset)
Core 2 Motherboard: Abit IP35 Pro (Intel P35 Express / ICH9R chipset) (reviewed here)
AMD Motherboard: Abit A-N78HD (GeForce 8200 mGPU) (reviewed here)

DDR2 Memory: 2GB OCZ PC2 6400 SOE Urban Elite 4-4-3-15 2T (reviewed here)
DDR3 Memory: 3GB Quimonda PC3 8500 7-7-7-20 1T
Video Card: GeForce 8800GT 512MB
Audio: Disabled
Hard Drive: Hitachi DeskStar 250GB 7200 RPM SATAII (reviewed here)

OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit SP1
Video Card Drivers: ForceWare 179.15
Intel Chipset Drivers: (for P35), (for X58)
Nvidia Chipset Drivers: nForce 15.24

BIOS Settings: Strict clock timings enforced (no "Auto" settings), AHCI enabled, all integrated peripherals disabled.

Next Page: (CPU Benchmarks - Raw Performance)