Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition review

More processing power than Skynet, but do you really need it?

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Our Verdict

A lightening chip though unreasonably expensive. The last gasp of the X58 chipset?

Product features

  • Processor Core : Hexa-core (6 Core)

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  • Unbelievable performance
  • Bonkers overclocking


  • Crazy pricing
  • Increasingly geriatric chipset

Monstrous. We think that's a fairly apt term for a processor like the Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition.

It's vast, and possibly a little vulgar, in terms of sheer size, performance and importantly cost.

The i7 990X is one of Intel's classic Extreme Edition class CPUs; beyond the grasp of most mere mortals and more powerful than most of us could possibly need.

It follows in the footsteps of Intel's other hexcore processors, like the Intel Core i7 970 and drops in almost identical footfalls as the Intel Core i7 980X, itself another Extreme Edition.

When we looked at that first six-core Gulftown chip almost a year ago exactly our initial reaction was "a CPU you don't need at a price you can't afford." Twelve months down the line and that has at least changed.

Unfortunately for Intel though it hasn't exactly changed in favour of another £800 processor.

With the relatively recent release of the Sandy Bridge platform we've now got frankly incredible quad-core performance CPUs for a fraction of the price of such a huge chip.

So what possible use is the i7 990X?

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreHexa-core (6 Core)
Thermal Design Power130 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i7 Extreme Edition i7-900
L3 Cache12 MB
Clock Speed3.46 GHz
Processor SocketSocket B LGA-1366
Brand NameIntel
64-bit ProcessingYes
Width42.4 mm
Depth45 mm
L2 Cache1.50 MB
Product Seriesi7-900
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli7-990x
Product NameCore i7 Extreme Edition Hexa-core i7-990x 3.46GHz Processor
Product LineCore i7 Extreme Edition
Manufacturer Part NumberBX80613I7990X
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Hardcore multitaskers rejoice. Fly through everything you do on your PC - from playing intense 3D games to creating and editing digital video, music, and photos. With the high performance platform capabilities of Intel X58 Express Chipset-based motherboards, along with faster, intelligent multi-core technology that applies processing power dynamically when its needed most, PCs based on the Intel Core i7-980X processor Extreme Edition deliver incredible performance with a rich feature set.

Process Technology32 nm