Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 - Quad-Core Assault

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Power and Heat Characteristics

There's no question, as the number of CPU cores scales in these new multi-core processor architectures, thermal challenges scale right along with them.  We're sure many of you are interested in knowing how Kentsfield runs under pressure and what sort of cooling solutions need to be provisioned for optimal performance.  We setup our test-bed with a Zalman CPNS9500 all copper CPU cooler.  This cooler is easily our favorite for high load stress testing in the labs as it is both hugely efficient, effective, and very quiet.

In short, the new Core 2 Extreme QX6700 ran like a champ with this setup on our open air test bench.

QX6700 Idle

QX6700 Full Load

Here we've giving you a view of how the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 performs while idle and also under full load with 100% CPU utilization.  As you can see, the QX6700 has very reasonable operational temperatures with the standard off-the-shelf HSF we chose.  Granted, the Zalman CPNS9500 is one of the more top-shelf coolers on the market today but we'd dare say that if you're the type to run a processor like the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, you're not going to skimp on something as basic as a CPU cooler.  On a side note, the reference cooler that Intel supplied us with for launch was, quite frankly, completely unacceptable.  It was ridiculously loud, even though we manually dialed down its fan speed to 60%.  And it didn't do nearly as good a job cooling Kentsfield as our Zalman cooler.  We hope Intel finds a better cooling solution for their retail CPU bundles but those of you that like to go with bulk "OEM" chips, do yourself a favor and get a solid cooler like the Zalman CPNS9500.     

Regardless, within this test setup environment, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 idles at a mild 31oC.  Under full 100% load with a 30 minute burn-in time, the new quad-core CPU only topped out at only 46-47oC.  Talk about a huge contrast to Intel's Pentium D thermal characteristics from days gone by.  A quad-core Pentium D 965 would have been a toaster of a chip but the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 is a relatively cool operator.  Next up - power consumption.

Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Test System Power Characteristics
Processors and Platforms Compared

Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption here at the outlet, not just the power being drawn by the processors alone.  Also, we should note that we tested all systems with processor clock throttling technologies like AMD Cool-n-Quiet and Intel Speed-Step enabled.  Instead this will give you a measure of power consumption of each system at its stock, rated clock speed at idle on the desktop and under load.

The Core 2 Extreme QX6700-based system, built on an Asus P5W DH motherboard with Intel's own 975X chipset actually draws slightly less power at idle versus an Athlon 64 FX-62 on an nForce 590 SLI based board (Asus M2N32 SLI Deluxe).  At full load, the QX6700-based system only draws about 8 Watts more than the FX-62/nForce 590 system.  On the other hand, ATI's RD580 chipset definitely helps the power consumption profile of the FX-62 obviously, and it puts the dual-core Athlon 64 system more in line with Core 2 Duo. Regardless, again Intel's quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 makes a very respectable showing in terms of overall system power consumption, relatively speaking, versus its dual-core counterparts.   

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