Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Review
By Vince Freeman :
October 29, 2007
Needless to say, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is an extremely fast processor - in fact, it's the fastest desktop processor money can buy - and any enthusiast finding fault with 3.0 GHz of 45nm goodness needs to get a new hobby. Desktop performance is lightning fast, multi-tasking is smooth, multi-threading speed is the best on the market, and at 3.0 GHz, you certainly don't lose anything on the gaming side, and might even gain a few fps.
But that's not what impressed us the most, as Intel has already been to the 3.0 GHz quad core mountain. Instead, the power usage and thermal results were just less than astounding. The Kentsfield is a very powerful and solid design, but moving up to a 3.0 GHz quad at 65nm does bring with it some caveats, from a high power draw to maxed out CPU fan speeds at full load. The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 offered a nice compromise, as power and heat levels were lower, and fan speeds stayed at low to medium levels the majority of the time.
We're getting a sneak peek at the Core 2 Extreme QX9650, as the processor will not officially launch until November 12 of this year. Intel has not yet released pricing on the Core 2 Extreme QX9650, but we anticipate it following the other "Extreme" releases and sitting somewhere above the $1K mark. Now whether this represents a *value* is really beside the point, as the Intel Extreme line has never been about the dollars and cents, but rather to provide enthusiast buyers with the very fastest processors money can buy. Intel has certainly done that with the 3.0 GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9650, but mainstream buyers will likely wait for the Penryn to filter down a bit before taking the plunge.
* Please note that these prices were taken at the time of review and are not meant to reflect long-term trends.
We came away from this review with a decidedly positive outlook of Intel's 45nm world. The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is the fastest desktop processor yet, but it sports a lower power and thermal envelope than its 65nm quad core siblings. Other than its high price, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is an improvement in every way, and the larger L2 cache is a welcome enhancement. The first round of Intel quad core processors were great for the enthusiasts, but this is the first quad core design that we'd consider for a standard desktop configuration. Kentsfield was a very good start, but Yorkfield is quad core done right.
- Top Desktop Performer
- Excellent Power Usage Numbers
- Media Creation Powerhouse
- 3.0 GHz Clock Speed