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Intel Corp. on Thursday officially took the wraps off its first six-core desktop central processing unit at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. The new chips will be available later this month, but already now Intel can show the software that takes advantage of its capability to process twelve threads of code at once.

Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition central processing unit (CPU) has six cores with Hyper-Threading enabled, operates at 3.33GH, features 12MB of unified L3 cache (in addition to 64KB L1 cache per core and 256KB L2 cache per core, or 14MB of cache in total), triple-channel DDR3 memory controller and is based on Westmere micro-architecture.

Thanks to 32nm manufacturing process, the six-core Intel Core i7-980X “Gulftown” processor manages to fit into thermal design power of previous-generation quad-core processors – 130W – and is also less expensive to manufacture thanks to smaller die size. Still, Intel only plans to release three six-core microprocessors in the next twelve months.

Game Developers Conference (GDC) attendees can see and experience applications enhanced for the six-core platform – including newly released Sega Napoleon Total War, the soon-to-be-released Ubisoft RUSE, Geomerics Enlighten and Cakewalk Sonar – by visiting the Intel booth or lounge area during the event.

Intel has already started to ship the Core i7-980X Extreme Edition processors for revenue. The price of the chip is $999 in 1000-unit quantities.

Tags: Intel, Gulftown, Westmere, 32nm, Core

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