The 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Extreme (codenamed SandyBridge E) processor launches today. This beast of a CPU has 6 cores and includes Hyper-Threading – that’s up to 12 threads at your disposal. There is also the benefit of the newer architecture, a HUGE 15MB cache and 4 channels of memory. Impressive specs, no doubt, but what can this thing really do?
Well, of course it still provides that fantastic gaming experience that we’ve come to know and love about the Extreme line of processors. It also supports overclocking, so you tweak your system to your heart’s content and really get the most out of your hardware. In fact, Intel has partnered with Asetek to create a high performance liquid cooling solution compatible with Sandybridge systems.
It’s no secret that modern games utilize multiple cores. Minimum specs for many of today’s games require dual core CPUs and usually take advantage of many more than that. For example, the recently released Battlefield 3 has a minimum requirement of 2 cores, but recommends 4 cores. Those of us who are serious about gaming often do more than just run the game on its own. We are multitasking pros, running voice chat software like Ventrilo or Skype, tweeting or updating Facebook on our progress in games, and even livestreaming our gameplay to sites like Twitch.tv. Streaming gameplay can be quite a stress on your CPU as you are essentially encoding a video (not a trivial task!) while you are running a game. With enough cores in your CPU, you can have some cores dedicated to encoding and others dedicated to running the game – a beautiful symphony of multitasking.
I’ve only touched on a handful of the great features that the 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Extreme provides, but you can read more about it at http://www.intel.com/corei7EE and around the web.