New Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition chip cracks 3GHz barrier

Intel adds more clock speed to its high-performing Extreme Edition chips, but analyst says clock speeds matter less now

Intel has started shipping 21 new processors for laptops and desktops, including a new Core i7 chip with a base clock speed of 3GHz, a new high for the company's mobile processors based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture.

The quad-core Core i7-3940XM Extreme Edition chip replaces the Core i7-3920XM, which operated at a clock speed 2.9GHz, according to a price list published Sunday. The new chip is priced at US$1,096 in quantities of 1,000, the same price as its predecessor.

Extreme Edition mobile chips are used mostly in gaming laptops and represent the fastest performance offered by Intel mobile processors. Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices typically crank up clock speeds on chips in order to claim the performance crown.

Depending on applications, higher clock speeds could boost performance, and clock speeds could go up as chips shrink and leakage is reduced, said Jim McGregor, founder of consulting firm Tirias Research.

But adding clock speed leads to chips consuming more power, which hurts laptop battery life, McGregor said. A very limited audience of users such as gamers need that sort of performance, and for better performance-per-watt chip makers are instead adding cores, a practice that has been going on for about a decade now.

"Once we got into multicores, the frequency really becomes less of an issue," McGregor said.

However, there is still some obsession among users around the importance of clock speeds to boost chip performance, McGregor said.

"We're still fixated on the gigahertz or the number of cores because we are simplistic consumers and we need numbers. But it doesn't matter that much," McGregor said.

The new Ivy Bridge chips have a feature called Turbo Boost, in which clock speeds in cores could scale up or down depending on the performance needed. The feature, also present on the Core i7-3940XM Extreme Edition chip, is mainly intended to provide just the right amount of performance needed for specific applications.

Intel also boosted the clock frequency for the Core i7 processors used in thin-and-light and mainstream laptops. The new quad-core Core i7 3840QM operates at a base clock speed of 2.8GHz, which is a new high compared to the previously fastest Core i7-3820QM chip, which runs at a clock speed of 2.7GHz. Both the chips have a price of $568.

The company also started shipping new Core i3 and i5 Ivy Bridge processors for desktops, and dual-core Sandy Bridge Celeron processors for low-power laptops.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?