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Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 Quad-Core
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by Rob Williams on July 16, 2007 in Intel Processors

Intel today is announcing their 1333FSB Core 2 line-up, which consists of three dual-cores, including the E6750 we previewed a few weeks ago, and also the 3.0GHz quad-core that we are testing out today. Read on as we explore all of what Intel’s latest flagship processor has to offer.

Introduction

When Intel launched their P35 chipset two months ago, it ushered in not only DDR3 support, but also native 1333FSB support. This wasn’t much of a surprise, since DDR3-1333 is a standard, and it’s common to want to run 1:1 ratios with the FSB and memory frequency. We saw this with 800FSB CPUs and DDR2-800 memory and also 1066FSB CPUs with DDR2-1066 memory. The next big thing from Intel will be 1333FSB Penryn, which we have taken a look at in depth in previous months. To tide us over until then, Intel is launching refreshing parts of their Core 2 line-up to include native 1333FSB processors.

We took a look at their second-to-top offering a few weeks ago, in the form of a 2.66GHz E6750. Although it’s an incredible CPU for the money, we already knew what to expect since it was a ‘mere’ speed bump and retained identical TDPs. You could take any Core 2 Duo and clock it to 1333FSB and have the same performance, in reality.

As I mentioned in that review, though, the biggest reason you should look forward to these new launches is because of their price points. The 2.66GHz E6750 will retail for around $200, which is an incredible thought considering what prices were set at last year. $200 will now get you a very powerful processor that will not be the bottleneck in gaming or other activities. In years past, you almost had to hand over $1,000 for a new CPU if you wanted ultimate performance. The Core 2 series has well proved itself since launch however, with even the budget offerings giving any enthusiast the performance they crave.

Those who don’t enjoy overclocking, or are skeptical of the activity, are in luck because of the fact that they can still have a great CPU and not skip a car payment. But, despite the fact that there are powerful CPUs out there for reasonable prices, the Extreme line exists for two types of people. Those who want a top of the line processor without overclocking, and those who want to get every last ounce out of their overclocking. Because Extreme CPUs are binned higher, it’s not unusual to see the top overclocks performed with them.

The only downside, of course, is the price. One has to wonder if the premium nowadays is truly worth it, considering the performance of the budget offerings can still be considered extreme by todays standards. Nothing stops overclockers from achieving the same frequencies with ease, either. Still, those who refuse to overclock for the sake of stability or what-have-you, but still want the best performance available, can’t go wrong.

That’s where the QX6850 comes into play, a 3.0GHz Core 2 Extreme that offers four cores to computing enthusiasts. This is the fastest Core 2 processor ever released, and in turn the fastest processor the market has to offer. Price as expected, is $999 in quantities of 1,000. You should expect to see it retail for closer to ~$1,250 at your favorite e-tailer, or even higher though. It’s like buying a Ferrari, where paying $50,000 over SRP is not uncommon. This is just on a far smaller scale.

Although we are taking a look at the top offering for the 1333FSB processors, there will be a total of five being released immediately, with availability in the coming weeks. Below you will find the completely up-to-date line-up.

CPU Model
Clock Speed
FSB
L2 Cache
TDP
Cores
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.0GHz 1333MHz 4MB x 2 130w 4
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93GHz 1066MHz 4MB x 2 130w 4
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz 1066MHz 4MB x 2 130w 4
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 1066MHz 4MB x 2 105W 4
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz 1333MHz 4MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 1066MHz 4MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333MHz 4MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.60GHz 1066MHz 4MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 1066MHz 4MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6540 2.33GHz 1333MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 1066MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 1066MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.2GHz 800MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 2.0GHz 800MHz 2MB 65W 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.80GHz 800MHz 2MB 65W 2

Compared to the previous top-end processor, the QX6850 has a 70MHz advantage. Though a non-impressive frequency boost, it should prove much faster than the QX6800 overall, thanks to the much-improved FSB frequency.

The first Extreme Quad-Core released late last year was the QX6700, clocking in at 2.66GHz. Because of this new launch, it is being re-released as the Q6700, meaning no unlocked multiplier. Its price will also be dropped, alongside the rest of the line-up.

Below is a table of just the new processors, with their prices in quantities of 1,000.

CPU Model
Clock Speed
FSB
L2 Cache
TDP
Cores
$/1,000
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.0GHz 1333MHz 4MB x 2 130w 4 $999
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz 1066MHz 4MB x 2 130w 4 $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz 1333MHz 4MB 65W 2 $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333MHz 4MB 65W 2 $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333MHz 2MB 65W 2 $163

Also announced today is Intels first extreme mobile part, the X7800. Like the desktop counter-parts, this Extreme processor features an unlocked multiplier, so it’s overclocking friendly. This dual-core CPU is clocked at 2.6GHz and features an 800MHz FSB and 4MB of L2 Cache. Like all other extreme offerings though, it doesn’t come cheap, costing $851 to OEMs.

The 6×50 series will be available to consumers in two weeks time, through your favorite retailer or e-tailer. The X7800 mobile CPU is being sold to OEMs now, and should be available in various notebooks in the coming weeks.

With that, let’s cover our testing methodology and then jump right into benchmarking.