Intel Core i7 990X 

Released February, 2011
  • 3.46 GHz
  • Hexa core
  • Unlocked
5.5 Out of 10

With the auto voltage overclock of 4410MHz we knocked just shy of 30 seconds off of the 1024 million runs for a time of 135.674 and the 32 million runs averaged 1.025 seconds faster.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
The 32 million runs were an additional .337 seconds faster for a grand total of 1.362 seconds below our starting point!
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)

CPUBoss Review Our evaluation of the Intel Core i7 990X among desktop CPUs (over 75W)


Benchmark performance using all cores

Core i7 990X
PCMark 8 Home 3.0 Accelerated, PassMark and 1 more

Single-core Performance

Individual core benchmark performance

Core i7 990X
PassMark (Single Core), Geekbench 3 Single Core and 1 more

Integrated Graphics

Integrated GPU performance for graphics

Core i7 990X
Fire Strike

Integrated Graphics (OpenCL)

Integrated GPU performance for parallel computing

Core i7 990X
CompuBench 1.5 Bitcoin mining and 4 more

Performance per Watt

How efficiently does the processor use electricity?

Core i7 990X
Fire Strike, CompuBench 1.5 Bitcoin mining and 11 more


Are you paying a premium for performance?

Core i7 990X
Fire Strike, CompuBench 1.5 Bitcoin mining and 11 more


CPUBoss Score

Combination of all six facets

Core i7 990X

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Intel Core i7 990X

GeekBench 3 (Multi-core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i7 990X
Core i7 4770K

GeekBench 3 (Single core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i7 990X

GeekBench 3 (AES single core) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i7 990X
1,750,000 MB/s
Core i7 4770K
4,810,000 MB/s

GeekBench (32-bit) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i7 990X
Core i7 4770K
Core i7 980X

GeekBench (64-bit) Data courtesy Primate Labs

Core i7 990X
Core i7 4770K
Core i7 980X


Core i7 990X
Core i7 980X
Core i7 4770K

PassMark Data courtesy Passmark

Core i7 990X
Core i7 4770K
Core i7 980X

PassMark (Single Core)

Core i7 990X
Core i7 980X

Reviews Word on the street for the Intel Core i7 990X

Combining all of Intel's then-hottest technologies, it gave both die-hard enthusiasts and professionals who regularly deal in highly threaded apps something to drool over: With a 3.33-GHz clock speed and lots of threads and cache, it redefined "fast" for desktop PCs.

Certainly where the multithreading counts those extra two Nehalem cores make themselves known, but the second-gen Core CPU can be overclocked to duck below 30 seconds in Cinebench too.


8.6 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Socket Type

Coming at us with 3.46GHz of processing power per core and up to 3.73GHz with turbo enabled, it's sure to be a fun processor to play with.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
Having an out of the box frequency of 3.46GHz is simply a beautiful thing!
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
Increasing the voltage of the 990X allowed us to fo faster yet, and we were able to knock off an additional 9.159 seconds for a grand total of 38.975 (23.6%) seconds below default!
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)


Whereas the Core i7-980X took 3 minutes and 27 seconds in our test applying a dozen complex filters in Adobe Photoshop CS5 ($699 to $999 list, 5 stars), the Core i7-990X trimmed it down to an even 3 minutes 20 seconds.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)
The Intel Core i7 2600K pulled out ahead of the crowd with a score of 1.55 while the Intel Core i7 990X Extreme had a respectable 1.25.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
We saw similarly small increases in our 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Vantage gaming tests (9,332 to 9,591 and 32,129 to 33,382, respectively) and comprehensive Geekbench benchmark (13,083 to 13,586), as well as throughout our more probing AIDA64 and SiSoftware Sandra processor tests.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)


It's vast, and possibly a little vulgar, in terms of sheer size, performance and importantly cost.
by Tech Radar (Mar, 2011)
Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7 990X Extreme is significantly faster in wPrime than anything else we have tested.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
Much of that comes from the fact that the 990X is a Hex-core processor and those benchmarks scale for multiple cores.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)


At least for now—with AMD's new Fusion platform making headroom and the Bulldozer core barreling toward fruition, it's legitimately possible that could change by the end of the year.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)
It acquitted itself fairly handsomely on our tests, finishing a solid but seldom-distant third behind the Core i7-990X and the Core i7-980X across the board, but providing a compelling supporting option for those who want to come to the six-core party without a huge financial obligation.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)
One thing remains clear: If you want the most in six-core power, you have to go to Intel.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)


But it's the fastest chip you'll find, especially if your business or personal computer use thrives on highly threaded workloads.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)
With a lightly treaded application Intel's Turbo mode will push the 990X up one more multiplier for a speed of 3.73GHz.
by Legit Reviews (May, 2011)
As Sandy Bridge chips are loaded with technologies for improving everyday media handling, this is not a huge surprise.
by PCMag (Mar, 2011)

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Clock speed 3.46 GHz
Turbo clock speed 3.73 GHz
Cores Hexa core
Socket type LGA 1366
Is unlocked Yes


Has a NX bit Yes
Supports trusted computing No
Has virtualization support Yes
Instruction set extensions
  1. MMX
  2. AES
  3. SSE
  4. SSE2
  5. SSE4.1
  6. SSE3
  7. Supplemental SSE3
  8. SSE4.2
  9. SSE4
Supports dynamic frequency scaling Yes

power consumption

TDP 130W
Annual home energy cost 31.32 $/year
Annual commercial energy cost 113.88 $/year
Performance per watt 6.64 pt/W
Typical power consumption 105.63W

memory controller

Memory controller Built-in
Memory type
  1. DDR3-1066
  2. DDR3
Channels Triple Channel
Supports ECC No
Maximum bandwidth 25,599.99 MB/s
Maximum memory size 24,576 MB


Architecture x86-64
Threads 12 threads
L2 cache 2 MB
L2 cache per core 0.33 MB/core
L3 cache 12 MB
L3 cache per core 2 MB/core
Manufacture process 32 nm
Max CPUs 1
Clock multiplier 26
Voltage range 0.8 - 1.38V
Operating temperature Unknown - 67.9°C


Overclock popularity 54
Overclocked clock speed 4.58 GHz
Overclocked clock speed (Water) 4.78 GHz
PassMark (Overclocked) 4,092.9
Overclocked clock speed (Air) 4.58 GHz

integrated graphics

GPU None


Architecture QPI
Data rate 25,600 MB/s
Transfer rate 6,400 MT/s
Clock speed 3,200 MHz
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