Intel Core i7 990X Extreme Edition review

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

TechRadar Verdict

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


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    Unbelievable performance

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    Bonkers overclocking


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    Crazy pricing

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    Increasingly geriatric chipset

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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?