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Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 Performance Preview
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by Rob Williams on November 19, 2007 in Intel Processors

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.

Testing Methodology


Regardless of the OS we are running or product being reviewed, there are a few conditions that are met to assure accurate, repeatable results.

  • Desktop and scrap files are cleaned up, including emptying of recycle bin/trash.
  • No virus scanner or firewall is installed.
  • Internet is disabled.
  • Computer has proper airflow and room temperature is 80°F or less.
  • Hard-drives affected by testing are defragged using Diskeeper 10.

All testing between processors is done on the same hardware. Our configuration is below:

For our processor reviews, we use three different operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista and Gentoo Linux. Although Vista has been out for close to a year, we’ve encountered numerous issues with our benchmarking, so we use it only where necessary, which at this time is only for PCMark Vantage.

    Windows XP Professional SP2

  • Screensaver and all power-related options are disabled.
  • All chipset/motherboard drivers are installed, in addition to GPU.
  • Windows Update is called in if a specific update is needed.
  • Internet is disabled.
    Windows Vista Ultimate

  • Screensaver and all power-related options are disabled.
  • Welcome Center is disabled.
  • UAC is disabled.
  • Critical Windows Updates are downloaded, including a fix for the GPU.
  • Security Center is altered to never nag about the settings.
  • Internet is disabled, and Aero theme is enabled.
    Gentoo 2007.0

  • A minimal install of the OS is used, without a desktop environment.
  • System is updated to latest stable versions. including the latest Gentoo-patched kernel.
  • Internet is disabled.

In last months review of Intel’s QX9650, we were pleased overall with the results from our synthetic and real-world benchmarks, but one area we didn’t see much of an increase was with gaming. Intel touts both F.E.A.R. and Half-Life 2: Episode Two as being two games that will see benefits, but that’s due to both titles being far more dependent on the CPU than most other games available.

Because this is a “speed bump”, we cut down on the number of games used for testing. For this review, we decided on both F.E.A.R. and Half-Life 2: Episode Two for the reasons above, as well as two newcomers: Call of Duty 4 and Crysis. Both of those games really push the boundaries on our GPUs, but our goal is to see if a beefier CPU will help us out as well.

No timedemos were used in this review. Each level was manually played with the Minimum and Average Frames-Per-Second captured with the help of FRAPS 2.9.2. Each play-through lasts between four and six minutes. Because no timedemos are used, the average FPS will vary in between runs, even on the same CPU, due to changing circumstances in the game. FPS fluctuation is normal, but our goal is to see if big benefits will be seen on better processors. We tested each game at both 1280×1024 and 2560×1600 for the sake of seeing if the benefits were greater with either.

Below, you can view all of the games we will be using, as well as the settings used.

Specification
1280×1024
2560×1600
Call of Duty 4

Crysis

F.E.A.R.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

All other non-game benchmarks will be explained along the way.


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