Intel delivers cheaper six-core game chip

Chip giant is shipping a less expensive six-core processor for the highest of high-end PCs.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Intel has added a second six-core desktop chip to its roster of high-end processors used to crunch through the most demanding games and multimedia applications.

Falcon Northwest high-end gaming box, which can use a six-core Intel processor.
Falcon Northwest high-end gaming box, which can use a six-core Intel processor. Falcon Northwest

The Core i7-970, announced Sunday, is priced at $885 and follows the six-core i7 980X ($999) released earlier this year. Like the 980X, it has 12MB of L3 cache memory and is made on Intel's latest 32-nanometer manufacturing process.

Unlike the Extreme Edition 3.33GHz 980X, however, it is rated at 3.2GHz and has a "locked" CPU multiplier, which means it is not marketed as a chip that is officially eligible for overclocking, or increasing the clock (gigahertz) speed of the chip. (A closer look at the chip here.)

The difference between high-end six-core and four-core processors (Intel offers many models of the latter) is not always that significant, according to Kelt Reeves, president of high-end game box supplier Falcon Northwest. But it all depends, of course. "Background stuff can always use the extra cores. Windows can take advantage of that," Reeves said. Background tasks might include running non-game-related applications in the background, for example, while playing a game.

But gamers typically opt for more cores. The Core i7 980X is used in Falcon Northwest's best-selling systems, Reeves said.

Intel also introduced other desktop chips, such as the 2.8GHz Core i5-760, priced at $205, while cutting prices on processors such as the 2.93GHz Core i7-870, reduced 48 percent to $294 from $562. The company also eliminated more than a dozen Xeon processor models for servers and workstations.