Despite being more than a month away from the public, Intel's Core i9 (Gulftown) platform has already been tested and is shown to be potentially as fast as its design implies. The move from four to six cores has translated into an almost perfectly linear increase in speed for those apps that can use multiple processors. In tasks such as 3D modeling and video encoding, a 2.8GHz Core i9 is found by PCLab to be roughly 50 percent faster than a Core i7 at the same clock speed.
Not all tests show as large gains, as those limited to a single core or which didn't properly use their extra code threads saw smaller gains or even no advantage at all. Some of this is attributed to the prototype nature of the i9 platform, as its memory performance isn't as high as anticipated for production hardware. Its memory speed won't be as high as on the quad-core processors, however.
Intel isn't due to launch Core i9 until early 2010, possibly early as January, and will initially reserve it for high end systems as it should have a high price and consume about 130W of power versus the 95W for most Core i5 and i7 chips.