Intel Launches Rival To AMD Bulldozer With i7-2700K


Intel has launched its fastest quad-core Core i7-2700K to take the fight to AMD’s FX desktop chips

The battle for the desktop continues with chip giant Intel responding to AMD’s FX processor family with the launch of its speedy quad core i7-2700K desktop processor.

Intel’s i7-2700K is the giant chip maker’s fastest chip based on its own Sandy Bridge architecture, which began appearing in Intel processors in January. The chip clocks in at 3.5GHz – which can climb to 3.9GHz, when using Intel’s Turbo Boost technology – and is meant to challenge AMD’s most powerful FX chips.

Except for the power upgrade, the i7-2700K is about the same as the current i7-2600K, which had a frequency of 3.4GHz. The chip can execute up to eight threads at the same time, and offers an 8MB L3 cache and a thermal design power (TDP) of 95 watts. Like all Sandy Bridge chips, it also includes integrated high-level graphics, in this case Intel’s HD 3000 graphics.

Overclocking Option

And like the i7-2600K, it also has an unlocked clock multiplier so it can be more easily over-clocked for high performance.

The i7-2700K has been eyed as Intel’s answer to AMD’s new Bulldozer chips, which are starting to hit the market. Intel’s chip reportedly will challenge the FX chips, and for a price of about $100 (£63) more – $332 (£208) for 1,000 unit quantities. That price is about $15 (£9.41) higher than the i7-2600K.

Intel and AMD have spent much of the year filling out the lineups of their respective new chip offerings. At the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January, AMD launched the first of its Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs), which offer the CPU and high-level graphics integrated onto the same piece of silicon. At the same show, Intel released the first of its Sandy Bridge processors, which feature the same integrated CPU-graphics capabilities.

Executives from both AMD and Intel have said the ramps of their respective technologies have been the fastest in their companies’ histories.

AMD now has begun rolling out new PC and server chips based on its Bulldozer core, which company executives say will bring greater performance and energy efficiency. The four initial FX chips range from four to eight cores

Desktop Performance

“AMD FX CPUs are back with a vengeance,’” Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager for AMD’s Client Group, said in a statement when the chips were released 12 October. “While over-clockers will certainly enjoy the frequencies the AMD FX processors can achieve, PC enthusiasts and HD media aficionados will appreciate the remarkable experience that AMD FX processors can provide as part of a balanced, affordable desktop system.”

However, the chip maker has been hit with mixed reviews about the performance of the first Bulldozer chips, which has added to a difficult autumn for AMD. Last month, the company announced that it was cutting its third-quarter financial forecasts due to manufacturing issues with partner Globalfoundries.

The manufacturing problems at Globalfoundries’ site in Germany were limiting supplies of AMD’s 32-nanometer Llano chips for mainstream notebooks and desktops, and had delayed the shipment of the company’s Interlagos Opteron server processors.

The issues come at a time when AMD is being squeezed by traditional rival Intel on the high end and now ARM Holdings – whose chip designs are found in most mobile devices, including popular smartphones and tablets – on the low end.

AMD is scheduled to announce third-quarter earnings 27 October.

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