Processor: Intel Core i7 980X
Mainboard Asus P6X58D Premium (Supplied by Asus)
Memory: 4GB Kingston KHX12800D3T1K3/6GX (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk: Kingston SSD Now M (Intel X25-M 80GB SSD) (Supplied by Kingston)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 5870 (Supplied by AMD)
Graphics Card: Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition 1GB (flashed to stock BIOS) (Supplied by Zotac)
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 (with an extra fan) (Supplied by Cooler Master)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Drivers: Intel INF 126.96.36.1995, ForceWare 196.21 AMD Catalyst 10.2
The new Core i7 980X will slide right into your existing X58 motherboard, usually with no more than a quick BIOS update. So you do not have to go out and dump a bunch of money on another motherboard to get those two extra cores in your system.
With the launch of Gulftown we also saw the introduction of a couple of new benchmarks. Cinebench R11.5 came out and we shifted to using AMD's Radeon HD 5870 to allow us to test DX11 gaming and CPU utilization.
Another shift in our reviews is the move from classic cameras in LightWave 9.6 to perspective cameras. These new cameras are more thread efficient and also allow the use of the ray tracing engine for rendering the scene. We will be using this mode moving forward, especially given that both Intel and AMD will be pushing more and more cores our way in future CPUs.
Overall our testing will remain a good blend of synthetic and real-world applications to give you the best idea of how any product will work once you get it home.