Just when we thought Intel's new naming scheme for Nehalem-derived processors was starting to make sense, the rumor mill goes and complicates things. Chinese site PCOnline has published some leaked Intel slides that suggest the first six-core Gulftown processor will reach stores as the Core i7-980X.
PCOnline says this 32-nm processor will run at 3.33GHz with 12MB of L3 cache, a 130W thermal envelope, and Hyper-Threading capabilities that will allow it to juggle 12 threads in total. Individual cores will reportedly be able to hit up to 3.6GHz thanks to Turbo Boost, as well. That blend of clock speeds and TDP mirrors that of Intel's current fastest offering, the quad-core Core i7-975 Extreme Edition.
PCOnline believes the Core i7-980X will launch in March and replace the Core i7-975 as Intel's flagship desktop product. The site quotes a price of 7999 Chinese yuan, or $1,171, which sounds about right for an Extreme Edition CPU.
The rumor mill previously hinted at a "Core i9" brand name for Gulftown, which would make a lot more sense—after all, the Core i7 label already applies to all Bloomfield and Lynnfield processors with four cores and eight threads. Moving down to four cores and four threads pushes you down into Core i5 territory, and if early listings are any indication, upcoming 32-nm Clarkdale processors with two cores and four threads will also be Core i5 parts. Meanwhile, a new Core i3 brand name will apply to Clarkdale CPUs with only two cores and two threads.