Faster entry-level Gulftown may come out next week

Now that its latest batch of ultra-low-voltage processors is out the door, Intel may decide to revisit its fastest and most power-hungry processor family. That's right: according to VR-Zone, a new Gulftown chip is on the way.

The site expects Intel to unleash the hexa-core Core i7-980 processor on June 26. Word is that the i7-980 will simply be a multiplier tick up from the i7-970, raising the base clock speed from 3.2GHz to 3.33GHz. The chip will otherwise retain the same LGA1366 package and asking price as its non-Extreme forebear. (VR-Zone quotes an "expected" $583 launch price, which is about what the Core i7-970 costs right now.)

Things may well play out just as VR-Zone says. A quick look at Intel's price list shows the i7-970 is strangely absent, meaning Intel could be getting ready to discontinue the chip. Perhaps the performance gap between that offering and the fastest Sandy Bridge CPU, the Core i7-2600K, isn't quite wide enough for Intel's taste.

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