Intel has gone from strength to strength in recent years, unlike Pentium 4 which really should have been put to bed after the Northwood core. In our eyes it was the only good core as it was a good overclocker and brought with it the first dual channel DDR memory for Intel. Now that Intel has left Rambus in its tracks and embraced DDR memory, we have seen the Core architecture really flourish. The Core 2 series CPU topped out Intel's popularity and it was hard to think of where it could go from there. And would the next processor be as good or has Intel reached its limits?
Well, we are happy to say in our opinion Core i7 is how Core 2 could and should have been from the start. AMD's experimentation with on-chip memory controllers proved it could work and work well. Memory speeds were never as good for Intel as AMD K8, thanks to an extremely fast memory access time and bandwidth. Thankfully, Core i7 followed this tradition; but to really stick the nail in AMD's coffin, triple channel memory has pushed the Core i7 to the brink of insane memory bandwidth. And because of the direct CPU to memory interface, each core has access to this extreme amount of memory bandwidth and is able to share it equally when needed through the QPI and the Request Queue that the CPU's use for core-to-core communication.
Overall, the Core i7 is definitely a CPU you will want to own, but it comes at a cost. A new board, new CPU and if you're a DDR2 fanboy, those sticks now have to be binned in favor of DDR3 modules as well. Pricing will no doubt be quite steep for a while, so if you're wanting some i7 action right now, be prepared to reach deep into those pockets.