If there's any truth to last month's rumors, we may see Intel's 32nm, six-core Gulftown processor in the first quarter of next year. As usual, though, some folks seem to get hold of these parts a little before everybody else.
Taiwanese overclocker JCornell has posted two images of a purported Gulftown prototype in the XtremeSystems Forums. The first image shows the underside of the CPU package next to a couple of Nehalem-based Xeon processors. (So one would think from looking at the capacitor arrangement and the "W5590" caption, at least.) The second image shows the prototype running Windows Vista with the Task Manager and CPU-Z open.
Barring some rudimentary Photoshop trickery, CPU-Z identifies the processor as a 32nm Gulftown engineering sample rated for 2.4GHz. The software also detects six cores, 12 threads, six chunks of 256KB L2 cache (1.5MB total), and 12MB of L3 cache. Vista's Task Manager reported 24 threads, which suggests JCornell was testing not one, but two Gulftown samples inside a workstation or server build.
As we noted back in February, Intel may make this processor by cramming three dual-core dies onto a single package. That might make Gulftown relatively affordable to produce, although we wouldn't exactly expect Intel to launch it at a bargain-basement price.