I haven’t posted anything here in a while, so to kick off 2016, here is a leaked photo of a Core i9 engineering sample. In late 2009 the Gulftown prototypes were still known as Core i9. During 2010 Intel branded the retail hexa-core chips Core i7 Extreme, the same as the Bloomfield quad-core chips.
Early Intel processor roadmaps and tech journalists sometimes referenced these chips as “Core i9” too:
The reasons? The good yield and clock speeds are obvious, and so is the benefit of selling high-end, high-margin parts earlier. After all, the initial Core i9 XE series desktop Gulftowns and “Westmere-EP” dual processor workstation and server Gulftowns will most likely sell in the $600 to $1,600 price range, if they follow the present LGA1366 CPUs. There will be no equivalent of the cheap Core i7 920 here this time, as the simpler LGA1156 CPUs have taken the mainstream role, even in Xeon UP servers.