Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 Performance Preview

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:
The new 3.2GHZ Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor offered performance that was generally 5 - 8% faster than the previously announced Core 2 Extreme QX9650 at 3GHz, across most usage models and test conditions we explored.  These gains were largely realized due to the simple increase in core clock speed but also as a result of the increase in system bus speed, in conjunction with a synchronous memory interface speed at 1600MHz.  All told, the new Core 2 Extreme QX9770 is the fastest desktop processor we've ever tested to date, bar none. 

Intel is once again poised to bring to the world the fastest X86 processor on the planet.  Though the chip is actually not available for sale just yet, we are told that an imminent release of Q1'08 is on the horizon.  AMD's Phenom 9700 is slated for release during this time frame as well, as the fastest quad-core CPU the company has too offer.  However, the price-point variance between the two is staggering.  AMD has noted that the Phenom 9700 will hit around the $300 or less range.  On the other hand, Intel's QX9650 is currently listed with an MSRP of $999, so you can expect the QX9770, when it is released, will retail for at least that much, maybe even more like the $1200 range.  Putting it mildly, only those with virtually limitless budgets need apply for this level of performance.

Now if we look at things purely from a dollars and cents perspective, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 at 2.4GHz retails currently with a street price around $300 in round numbers.  It just so happens, that AMD's Phenom 9700 performs about on par with the Core 2 Quad Q6600 and that's perhaps being generous.  Now let's consider things from a die size and cost/profit margin perspective.  With a die size that is actually larger than Intel's new Core 2 Extreme QX9770 that you've seen a performance preview of here today, the picture is just plain painful for AMD.  Granted Phenom is still in its infancy but with Intel releasing more and more cost and power efficient CPU architectures like the Yorkfield core, it's going to be a long uphill battle for AMD. 

In any event, if you're in the market for the fastest quad-core processor money can buy, it may cost you an arm and a leg but the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 is it -- by a long shot.


  • Fastest X86 Processor available now
  • 12MB on-chip L2 cache
  • 1600MHz FSB
  • Relatively low power
  • "E" is for REALLY expensive
  • Make sure your motherboard is up to the 1600MHz task

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