Feeds
75%
intel_quad_logo_tn

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core CPU

Two cores bad - four cores good?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

In all honesty, the QX6700 is not a replacement for the X6800 for a gamer - it's just not as fast for games, which tend to be single-threaded and hog one or two cores' CPU cycles. The upshot: Kentsfield's slower clock speed leaves it behind the faster dual-core X6800. This is ironic given the way the Core 2 Extreme brand is pitched almost exclusively at gamers - the one constituency who'll see the least advantage from the extra cores.

However, if you're after a seriously fast processor for rendering 3D models or for video processing, then quad-core is the way to go, providing you can justify the Extreme's $999 price point.

core2extreme_quad_die

There is a 'but' here and it's called 'Clovertown'. This is Intel's upcoming quad-core Xeon processor, and it might be more appealing to anyone working with heavy-duty 3D content creation code, especially as you can fit two of these CPUs onto a single motherboard. There will also be a range of lower clocked processors that might fit you wallet better than a QX6700, although the top of the range version will set you back more than a QX6700. Alternatively, there is the 'standard' Core 2 Quad, the Q6600, which will be available some time early next year at a little more affordable price point.

There's no doubt that the QX6700 has potential, but it all comes down to operating system and application support. Move away from Windows and you might see some real advantages here. Linux users should see a bigger performance increase because the open source operating system's Unix core is better at handling multiple processors than Windows is. The Unix-based Mac OS X will see a boost too, when Apple migrates its Mac Pro to 'Clovertown'.

Intel's Extreme Edition CPUs always cost $999 in quantities of a 1,000, so expect the UK retail price to end up somewhere in the £650 region once VAT has been added. The Core 2 Quad will come in at $851, although this is 266MHz slower, but the big question here is how much difference that will make in terms of raw performance. Maybe not much, and that could give it a better price:performance rating than the QX6700.

The X6800 is expected to remain at its current price of $999, so if you expected this to come down in price as there's a new Extreme Edition out, then you may be disappointed. Given then the two Core 2 Extremes are the same price, the X6800 will, for a while, prove the better value CPU, delivering better games performance. But the QX6700 will shine in the future, as multi-threaded and/or better behaved games that don't hog the CPU become available. And, for that matter, benchmark apps better able to cope with more than two cores.

Verdict

The Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 offers a glimpse of what the future holds, but for now there are few apps crying out for a quad-core processor. Windows Vista may bring better support for multi-threading, ensuring each thread has the same access to CPU resources as the others, rather than allowing one to dominate, but it doesn't look promising. We also need to see better quad-core application support before there will be any major benefits to move to four cores over two. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

75%
intel_quad_logo_tn

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core CPU

The future may be quad-core, but for now two will deliver the best price:performance for most users...
Price: $999 RRP

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display
Cupertino computer in value for money shocker
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.