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Intel i7 to hit Australia next week

The first of Intel's new Core i7 family of processors is being advertised by several Australian technology e-tailers and will be on the shelves by November 12.
Written by Brett Winterford, Contributor

The first of Intel's new Core i7 family of processors is being advertised by several Australian technology e-tailers and will be on the shelves by November 12.

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The first three models in the family — the Intel i7 920, 940 and 965 Extreme respectively, are not officially due to be announced in Australia until November 18, but Sydney's AusPC Market Online and Melbourne's City Software are already taking pre-orders.

Several e-tailers confirmed that Intel's wholesale partner Ingram Micro would ship the new processors to retail on November 12.

The Core i7 processor, based on the 45 nanometer process and originally code-named Nehalem, offers a tempting new option for high-end users.

There are three processors initially on offer. Key specs for the 920 include speeds 2.66Ghz, 8mb of cache and 4.8 gigatransfers per second of QPI (QuickPath Interconnect, Intel's successor to the abandoned Front-Side Bus). The 940 offering much the same specs at 2.93Ghz, and the 965 Extreme is boosted to 3.2Ghz and ups the QPI to 6.4 GT.

Online technology retailers are offering the 920 from anywhere between $600 and $1100, the 940 at between $1100-$1250 and the 965 at around $2500-$2900.

Intel's new family of processors will be an expensive upgrade however, as they are not compatible with older motherboards. City Software is selling the 920, 940 and 965 processors with MSI's DX58 Platinum Motherboard for $1350, $1870 and $3700 respectively.

The consensus among reviewers is that users demanding high computing performance will benefit most from Intel's new line of processors.

Hardware review site Anandtech noted that the CPU's design was intended to address "Intel's shortcomings in the server space", but lamented that the processor didn't provide any significant advances in terms of mobility or power use.

For workstation applications, wrote fellow hardware review site bit-tech.net, "there should be no other choice," particularly for users interested in video encoding and image editing. That said, the reviewer found the 965 Extreme Edition "far too expensive".

ExtremeTech's benchmarks favour users of graphics, video and productivity apps. The US prices, the reviewer said, could be compared favourably to Intel Core 2 prices. It listed the i7 Core 920 as being around 10 per cent cheaper than its Core 2 Duo equivalent. "None of the enhancements are revolutionary, but taken together, offer a polished, improved processor," the reviewer said.

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