The wait for an affordable 45nm Quad-Core is now over, and the Q9450 promises to become the ultimate choice of the new offerings. It’s not much slower than the QX9650, offers 12MB of cache and as expected, has some fantastic overclocking ability. How does 3.44GHz stable sound?
As we expected, the Q9450 is a fantastic processor all-around. It offers a nice clock speed, improved characteristics over the previous 65nm Quad-Cores and is priced right. The problem of course, is that despite being out for over a month, it’s a game to just find one in stock, anywhere.
If looking for a new Quad-Core right now, it’s hard to outright recommend this one, because not one e-tailer I checked at press time had them in stock. The Q9300, on the other hand, is found all over the place.
Where that battle is concerned, the Q9300 is still a great choice if the Q9450 cannot be found. It’s a tad bit slower, at 2.50GHz, and also has its L2 cache halved, but it’s still a worthy upgrade over the previous 65nm generation of processors.
But, assuming that the Q9450s will come back into stock soon, I recommend it highly. As it stands, it’s a great offering for the price, especially considering that it’s far less expensive than the QX9650, but is only 340MHz slower. That’s even without taking overclocking into consideration.
Where that’s concerned, there are no complaints to be had, either. As seen on the last page, 3.2GHz (QX9770 territory) could be achieved by increasing the FSB to 400MHz. On our particular motherboard, that didn’t even require a voltage increase on the northbridge. The CPU didn’t need a boost either, so it’s a completely free overclock all around. Pick up some DDR3-1600 to match that 3.2GHz, and you’ve got one fast machine (understatement).
Even further though, bumping the voltage up to a modest 1.35v allowed us to hit 3.44GHz stable, and even that didn’t require a northbridge increase. In fact, 1.35v is a voltage a lot of people seem to use even at stock speeds, since it’s still within Intel’s warranty limits. A 780MHz boost free of charge on a Quad-Core? That sounds like $350 well spent.
Overall, this is a great processor and one I recommend to anyone willing to spend $350 for their upgrade. The downside is still the fact that it’s so difficult to find in stock, but here’s to hoping that will soon change.
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