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Long rumored as Intel’s first response to AMD’s Bulldozer platform, the new Core i7-2700K processor has been officially launched as the fastest Sandy Bridge desktop chip. The quad-core CPU should already widen the performance gap between the Bulldozer flagship FX-8150 and Sandy Bridge’s high end, though at an approximate price of $330 (according to CPU World), the i7-2700K is nearly $100 more expensive.
At 3.5GHz (with a 3.9GHz Turbo Boost), the new Core i7 is 100MHz faster than the Core i7-2600K, which has already bested the FX-8150 in pretty much all benchmark testing to date. And as the “K” in the product name denotes, it has an unlocked clock multiplier to ease overclocking. No word yet on whether the new processor introduction will lead to a price cut in the i7-2600K to make it even more competitive with the Bulldozers. (Signs point to “no” as there’s some evidence the processor’s price has spiked in Europe after the launch of Bulldozer.)
Already, boutique system maker Maingear has announced that it is offering the new Core i7 in its Shift and F131 desktop PCs, giving users the option to have the company overclock it to 5GHz or higher. An F131 with the i7-2700K starts at $1,228, while a Shift equipped with one starts at $1,985. No doubt other gaming PC companies will announce their own systems with the new chip in the coming days.
Sean Portnoy is a freelance technology journalist.