Five months after its launch, Intel's Core i7-980X Extreme remains unchallenged as the fastest desktop processor on the market. Be that as it may, TechPowerUp has word that Intel is planning to release a quicker successor some time next quarter, and that a faster-than-ever six-core Xeon (perhaps a server- and workstation-targeted version of the chip) has already started sampling.
TechPowerUp says the Xeon X5690 runs at 3.46GHz with a Turbo Boost frequency of 3.6GHz. It'd be interesting if the 990X had identical specs, because the existing i7-980X has that very same top Turbo Boost speed, albeit with a lower advertised speed of 3.33GHz. We managed to get our own i7-980X up to a blistering 4.26GHz with a little voltage kick, so Gulftown can probably do better than 3.6GHz.
Either way, here's hoping the release of a faster flagship will bring prices down among other six-core Core i7s. Intel's cheapest Gulftown CPU, the Core i7-970, still sells for $900 today—barely a hundred bucks cheaper than the i7-980X. Not exactly affordable, especially for a chip without an unlocked upper multiplier.