Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Review – 45nm Era Begins
The 45nm era has finally arrived and Intel will be launching the next generation Extreme edition CPU, the QX9650. In this review, we will be taking a look at how this 3GHz QX9650 stack up against similarly clocked QX6850 and E6850. It will be interesting to see how the 4MB, 8MB and 12MB L2 cache processors perform and if the micro-architecture enhancements on the Yorkfield will aid it in the real world benchmarks.
Back in January earlier this year, we’ve heard Intel telling us about their latest processor technology breakthrough, utilizing a new combination of high-k dielectrics and conductors which allows Intel to fabricate 45nm processors, and shortly after that, we’ve heard the codename “Penryn” floating around the web. All in all, the Penryn family will consist of Penryn for the mobile platform, Wolfdale for the Core 2 Duo and Yorkfield for the Core 2 Quads.
Yorkfield XE architecture isn’t revolutionary compared to the current
Kentsfield XE Core 2 architecture as evident from Intel’s Tick Tock model but
the next generation Nehalem architecture will be. Yorkfield is 45nm based packed
with 810M transistors into 214mm2 die size compared to 682M
transistors in 286mm2 die size, has 12MB L2 cache total (2 x 6MB, 24-way set
associative) and the support 47 out of 54 new instructions on Intel SSE4. Other
microarchitecture enhancements include a fast shuffle engine that improves
performance of SSE4 and even Supplemental SSE3 instructions, enhanced cache line
split load that improves performance on unaligned loads and optimized store and
load operations, a deep power down technology that reduces power consumption, as
well as Enhanced Intel Dynamic Acceleration Technology that improves
Clock Speed (GHz)
Core / Thread
As a norm, Intel will usually release the extreme edition of a new range of processor prior to the introduction of the mainstream chips as a marketing stance. Today, we will be taking a look at the new Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9650 Processor, other wise known as the Yorkfield XE. Clocked at 3Ghz, the QX9650 is still sporting two
separate dies like the QX6850, consisting of two 107mm die packed with 6MB of L2 cache each, essentially totalling up to a L2 cache of 12MB! The QX9650 will run at 333Mhz x 9 at a FSB of 1333MT/s, sporting a TDP of 130W just like the QX6850 once again! At the same time, These new Core 2 CPUs are also what Intel tout as the Industry’s first “lead-free” processors, a huge step taken to taken by Intel to further meet EU’s RoHS Directive, something which the whole semi-conductor industry is shifting to now to solve the potential build up of toxic e-waste.
The QX9650′s beefier 1600MT/s brothers, the QX9770 and QX9775 will be released in Q1 ’08, both clocked at 3.2Ghz, with the QX9770 based on the LGA775 socket and the QX9775 based on the LGA 771 socket. Interestingly, the QX9775 will run on Intel’s upcoming Skulltrail platform, with support for dual Quads Extreme CPUs and possibly SLI support. As for the mainstream section, we will see the introduction of 2 models (Q9550 & Q9450) sporting a L2 Cache of 12MB and and a 6MB Q9300 coming up in Q1 ’08 as well, along with four Dual Core C2Ds. Refer to the chart
above for more information!.