Intel's top-of-the-line Core i7 could be a screamer

We've already seen plenty of evidence that shows Intel's Core i7 processors will have a clock-for-clock performance edge over today's Core 2 chips. Benchmarks that popped up in early June had a 2.66GHz Bloomfield outdo a 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad Q9450 by 33.5%, even though the former had only one memory channel operating.

What can we expect from a healthy Core i7 on the high-end front? Expreview claims to have caught a peek at benchmarks Intel sent to its partners. Those benchmarks supposedly pit a 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9770 against a Core i7 965 (also clocked at 3.2GHz, if past reports are accurate), and they give the Core i7 a 52% advantage in 3D games, a 38% edge in rendering tasks, and a 41% lead in video editing and conversion.

We'd take these numbers with a grain of salt even if they did come from Intel. Still, that kind of performance delta sounds plausible in light of earlier benchmarks, and it means Intel's top-of-the-line Core i7 could be a screamer when it arrives later this year. Going by information the rumor mill spit out this summer, the "Core i7 965" should cost $999, while its 2.93GHz derivative will cost $562, and the cheapest Core i7 variant will couple a 2.66GHz clock speed with a $284 price tag.

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