Intel Core i7 Desktops Dominate PC Charts

Intel's new quad-core Core i7 processors were only launched in late November, but desktop systems featuring the CPUs--from the likes of Dell, Falcon Northwest, Micro Express, and others--have already made an impact on PC World's Top 10 charts.

As explained in "," these new processors are the company's first to be based on its long-previewed "Nehalem" architecture. The Core i7 family doesn't just mean new CPUs, they use a new chipset, a new system bus, and a new socket structure; Intel's first major technology jump since mid-2006, when Core 2 CPUs showed up on the scene.

Mainstream Desktops

Three of the six PCs to debut in our newly refreshed chart boast Core i7. (our Best Buy) and our fourth-ranked use the midrange 2.93-GHz Core i7 940 CPU, which . Though both machines are competitively priced at less than $2000 (without monitor), each returned performance results only just behind the fastest system we've seen in the category: (ranked fifth). That system's 3.2-GHz X9770 processor, 4GB of speedy DDR3-1625 RAM, and two 10,000-rpm VelociRaptor hard drives (in a RAID 0 configuration) propelled it to a result of 141. By comparison, the Micro Express (3GB of DDR3-1333 RAM) and Dell (6GB of DDR3-1066 RAM) achieved WorldBench 6 performance scores of 138 and 136, respectively. Not too shabby at all. Polywell's newer, Core i7-equipped currently ranks 8th on our Power Desktop chart.

Gaming Desktops

Meanwhile, the Best Buy on our new goes to . Equipped with a high-end 3.2-GHz Core i7 Extreme 965 processor () that's been overclocked to 3.8-GHz, a whopping 12GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, and two ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphic boards, the Mach V prevailed in . Even so, both the and the (which rank second and fifth, respectively, on the chart) equaled the Mach V's record WorldBench 6 result of 163.