We took a look at Intel’s first 45nm desktop offering a few weeks ago and already have a preview of it’s successor. The QX9770 is equipped with a 3.2GHz frequency and is the first Intel CPU to support a 1600MHz Front-Side-Bus. Read on to see how it compares to the rest of our fleet.
Being such an early look on a new processor, it’s hard to walk away with a solid impression, besides having the obvious knowledge that the 6.6% increase in clock speed will improve those CPU-intensive tasks.
Regretably though, we were unable to test the QX9770 the way it was meant to be. As mentioned in the intro, 1600FSB CPUs are due to launch alongside Intel’s X48 chipset, and at this time, samples are -just- making their way out to reviewers. Even then, it is real early in the timeline to be making solid opinions. X48 is due in the new year, as is the QX9770.
The second problem we had was having no DDR3-1600 on hand. Whether or not our RAM became a bottleneck is not really known, but chances are good that we would have seen -some- improvements through certain benchmarks, most notably the video encoding applications. We will follow up on performance when we have both X48 and sufficient memory, which should be shortly.
Regardless of all of that though, the QX9770 is the fastest processor released. Ever. It offers all of the goods that came with 45nm, on top of four cores and the highest clock-speed that the Core 2 series has seen. Once released, this is going to be the drool-worthy processor to be eye-balling. Of course, that’s until someone throws together an incredible Skulltrail rig that pairs two equal LGA771 processors together for a staggering 8-Core machine.
Before I wrap up, I need to touch on overclocking, or the lack thereof. All performance was tested with the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi motherboard, with the latest 0601 beta BIOS, which opens up 1600FSB support. Even with that support, though, the QX9770 was unstable at all Auto settings on my machine. Before the PC could finish POST, it would lock up entirely. After many hours of tweaking, I found the reason to be the Northbridge voltage. I am unsure what the stock voltage is (since the motherboard hides that information), but once cranked up to a staggering (but still reasonable) 1.71v, the CPU was 100% stable.
I have a good feeling that with an X48 motherboard, the CPU would be stable without tweaking anything. Because I was using what seemed to be a hacked together BIOS, the performance was sketchy at best. Because of this, I was unable to overclock beyond 3.6GHz on that motherboard, and time didn’t allow a go on the Maximus Forumula. Further testing will be performed in the next month on an X48 board along with higher-frequency RAM, for more elaborate results.
When all said and done, the QX9770 is one killer processor. Intel has nothing to prove to AMD right now. Phenom is impressive, but Intel is still safe at the top. 3.2GHz of Yorkfield goodness is going to make friends envious. You know… if that’s your goal. Of course, you will have to wait until the new year to acquire one, but if you have a loose wallet, it will be worth the wait.
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