Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850
What goes faster than a Core 2 Quad processor at 3GHz? Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, nothing from AMD at the moment. Thankfully Intel has a few more "MHz in the can", or so to speak. Actually, it appears they may have a lot more, as you'll see in the pages that follow. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves though. First, Intel had to lay the platform foundation to support higher performance. After all, a faster engine is no good to you, sitting idle.
The introduction of the Intel P35 "Bearlake" chipset and soon-to-be-released X38 chipset back in May, allowed a platform goose of the Front Side Bus speed to a snappy 1,333MHz and ushered in support for DDR3 memory synchronously, pun intended, at the same speed in concert with the FSB. It also afforded Intel the opportunity to characterize their Core 2 Quad architecture at the same quad-pumped FSB speed--perhaps a lot like many enthusiast overclockers have already been doing for a while now? You can bet on it.
So the answer to our initial question is fairly straight-forward and Intel is answering that definitively today with the launch of the new Core 2 Extreme QX6850 quad-core processor. What goes faster than a Core 2 Quad QX6800? Like a Ferrari or Lamborghini it's going to cost you a few Lira but read on paisano and we'll wind her out and see how she handles.
We've published many articles relating to Intel's Core microarchitecture, Core 2 Duo and Extreme family of processors here at HotHardware.com. For more detail or a refresh on the technologies employed by the Core microarchitecture and Intel's platform as a whole, we suggest taking a look at the following related articles. These articles contain detailed explanations of some of the features common to Intel's legacy products, compatible chipsets, and the new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors:
- Core 2 Extreme QX6800 Review
- Intel P35 Bearlake Chipset And DDR3 Memory Launch
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Processor Preview
- Core 2 Extreme QX6700 IDF Preview
- Core 2 Duo E6700 & Extreme X6800 Evaluation
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (AMD's most recent competitive launch)
- Pentium Extreme Edition 955 & i975X Express Chipset Evaluation
We cover some specifics regarding Intel's 65nm manufacturing process in our 955XE / i975X evaluation and outline Intel's AMT (Active Management Technology) and IVT (Intel Virtualization Technology), among other things inherent to the Core microarchitecture, in our Core 2 Duo E6700 & Extreme X6800 Evaluation . Our Intel P35 Bearlake and DDR3 launch article will give you the background you need for the new higher front side bus speed and companion memory technology. The other articles listed above will also give you some background as to how the Core 2 has matured, leading up to today.
Beyond the increase in FSB speed, nothing has changed for the Core 2 Extreme QX6850, other than the fact that the chip is based on a new stepping of Intel's quad-core Conroe architecture. Even the TDP rating (Thermal Design Power) for the chip hasn't changed. This new chip will require a motherboard and chipset capable of supporting the new 1,333MHz FSB. Motherboards based on these chipsets, such as Intel Bearlake (P3x, G3x) or NVIDIA's nForce 6, are on the market today, with a healthy offering of new P35-based boards from the likes of Asus, Abit, Gigabyte, MSI and others.