On paper, the Core i9 might not sound that exciting: It's a lot like the Core i7, except built with a 32nm fabrication process and two extra cores, for a total of six. Early benchmarks, though, say it flies. Sometimes.
The i9 doesn't extract significant advantages from its pumped core count (which brings processing thread count up to 12) in a lot of day to day tasks, so don't expect to see an increase in game performance, Windows startup speed or other single-core optimized tasks. It's when you start rendering video or doing 3D modeling—tasks that are suited to parallelization—that the i9 flexes its muscles.
That's roughly a 50% increase in video encoding performance over a similarly clocked i7—already no slouch by any existing standards.
The i9 processors won't ship until sometime in early to mid 2010, and when they do, expect them to be a bit on the expensive side. But man, 50%. I think I can stand to save up a few more bucks, honestly. [PCLab via Electronista]