Intel Quad Core Performance Preview

Do dual-core CPUs bore you? Check out Intel's new quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700! Half the zazz, and twice the zip!

Intel's Core 2 Duo volley scored a solid hit on AMD, which had dominated the desktop performance segment for a number of years with the Athlon 64. The Core 2 Duo's gaming performance moved Intel out of the dreadful Pentium 4 performance backwaters into the processing lead in a single day. Upon release, the Core 2 Duo instantly became the processor of choice for gamers and power users alike.

Speed was king in the Pentium 4 era, but parallelism is the new mantra of the multicore age. When Intel's NetBurst P4 processors hit the GHz wall, the solution was to add more processing cores. If you can't go higher, go wider so-to-speak.

Unwilling to sit still and enjoy its newfound success, Intel decided to move up the quad-core "Kentsfield" CPU launch from the first half of 2007 to the last quarter of 2006. The Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core processor will be available by mid-November, just in time to go up against AMD's "Quad-father" 4x4 platform. The Core 2 Extreme QX6700 will carry the familiar $999 extreme processor price tag at launch.

Quad Core

Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX6700 follows Intel's new naming scheme to the letter. The Q signifies that the CPU has four processing cores, and the X, of course, makes it "extreme." The 6700 part of the moniker aligns perfectly with the rest of Intel's Core 2 processor lineup, as the QX6700 runs at 2.66GHz, the same speed as the Core 2 E6700 CPU. Each pair of CPUs has 4MB of L2 cache, bringing the total L2 for the entire processor to 8MB. Like other Core 2 CPUs, the quad runs on a 1066MHz front-side bus.

The QX6700 will be built on a 65nm process and is 64-bit capable. Following the trend of other Extreme Edition processors, the processor will come unlocked, which will give system owners a wide range of overclocking multiplier options.

The Core 2 Extreme QX6700 is pin-compatible with the rest of the Core 2 family. The processor should work fine with Intel's "Badaxe" 2 motherboards. Third-party motherboard manufacturers will release BIOS updates for existing Core 2 motherboards to enable quad-core compatibility. Whereas the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 will work in most existing Core 2 motherboards, AMD's "Quad-father" platform will require a new dual socket motherboard to support two dual-core processors.

Performance Testing

We brought in an Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 and a 975X Express-based motherboard for some hands-on performance testing. We didn't have an AMD Athlon FX-62 in our labs to test against, but we used the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ as a fill-in. Trust us when we say that the FX-62 wouldn't have done much better. We stuck with a single GeForce 7900 GTX on the video card side to balance out the high-end CPU performance with an equally powerful graphics card. We also included encoding and extreme multitasking scenarios with our tests because few games currently support multicore processing.



Are you going to upgrade to Intel's new quad-core CPU? Or do you think you'll stick with dual and single-core CPUs for a while longer?
Performance Tests

Conclusion:

Previously scheduled to make its debut sometime in early 2007, Intel's quad-core behemoth might be a little early. None of the games we tested take advantage of the QX6700's four processing cores. In all of our CPU limited game tests, the 2.66GHz QX6700 loses to the 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 because of its clock speed disadvantage. The QX6700 makes a great showing in the 3DMark06 CPU test, but barely budges the overall score. The vast majority of PC games simply aren't built for multicore processing yet, but support is coming in several upcoming games including Supreme Commander, Alan Wake, Half-life 2: Episode 2, and Unreal Tournament 2007.

While the gaming advantage isn't quite there yet, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 demolishes the competition in desktop applications. The quad-core CPU bested Intel's former flagship CPU by almost 30 percent in our video encoding test. The Core 2 Extreme QX6700 also performed well in our multitasking challenges where we encoded a video while running 3DMark06 simultaneously, shaving almost a minute and a half off the video-encode time of the nearest competitor and maintaining great gaming performance at the same time.

Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX6700 packs in a whole lot of performance, but it’s still probably early for the gaming crowd. You aren't going to miss much anyways, unless you happen to enjoy encoding videos and music while playing your favorite games. Regardless, the $999 price tag is daunting. Feel free to wait for the cheaper non-Extreme quad-cores when they come out in the first quarter of 2007.

System Setup: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700, Intel Core2 Extreme 2.93GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+, Intel 975XBX2, Intel 975XBX, ASUS A8N32 SLI, 2GB Corsair XMS Memory (1GB x 2), 160GB Seagate 7200.7 SATA Hard Disk Drive, Windows XP Professional SP2. Graphics Cards: Graphics Cards: GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB. Graphics Drivers: Nvidia Forceware 91.47.



Are you going to upgrade to Intel's new quad-core CPU? Or do you think you'll stick with dual and single-core CPUs for a while longer?

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Discussion

293 comments
Kroneage
Kroneage

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

LahiruD
LahiruD

AMD is a Crap. Intel is the Best.

360gamerz
360gamerz

i alredy hav one in and its well fast

steveeeeeeex
steveeeeeeex

All the gamers saying they're gonna buy an intel quad core cpu to "Futureproof" are a bit daft, Just wait till the "Future" when its needed ,saving yourself a lot of cash , Plus you'll need a newer motherboard for the newest type of memory/sata3?? and other stuff that might be around in a years time when Quad Core becomes usefull in pc gaming. Then theres AMD ...

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

AMD lose. AMD lose BAD. :P What's next from the barrage of awesomeness that is Intel?

xche78x
xche78x

about the topic of price/performance! since not so many programs today actually makes good use of quad core, why would you buy it now? why would you future proof on computer parts now when you can have the same quad cpu for lower price when programs that you use supports it comes. i skipped all those hyper threading and pentium d's, now i bought a core 2 cpu, nice price & nice performance. now im glad i skipped those 7 series geforce's and now saving for the 8800gtx. an investment that has longer lifespan! ^_^ If you use multi tasking and major cpu intensive apps, then by all means buy this powerful cpu. but if gaming is your life, wait a little longer before you take the plunge, it might save you some big dough so you'll have extra money to buy those quad core games!

opollo
opollo

An extreme cpu with an extreme price tag! Not worth it as games & apps dont use it yet, well there is only gears of war that uses 3 cores but thats for the xbox360!!

rx78ghost
rx78ghost

wow, that is worth more than both my computers and this will just help the main processing powers of the computer, you can do things fast when no one else can, it is like having a clock when no one else does, whats the use of knowing the time when you are the only one?

Floms
Floms

Excelent I didnt now about it

Jose619
Jose619

unless your a extreme multitasker....this proccesor is useless to anyone. gaming wise..it just wont cut it. you can get more out of a dual core 3.73 GHz for gaming then this. games arent built on 4 cores yet...not even 2. this is jus a waste of time

psycotix
psycotix

Darkness_78 "Up to day, December 8, 2006 this is the BEST of THE BEST! in the PC World. That's the point, " If u had the choice of a burger immediantly or a 16oz steak in 5 mins....which would u go for :) Best things come to those who wait and the quadfather will be well worth it.......

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

psycotix "AMD's Quadfather will own intels quad core for sure..........." Show some respect to the Don Quadfather or else you'll get wacked!

Darkness_78
Darkness_78

Up to day, December 8, 2006 this is the BEST of THE BEST! in the PC World. That's the point,

psycotix
psycotix

AMD's Quadfather will own intels quad core for sure...........

recalcitrant1
recalcitrant1

Corgas....The point being that single core processors aren't currently able to go much faster given their architecture, the average equipement + budget available to the majority of the world. Its down to temperature and physics, but lets not go there :p

Corgas2
Corgas2

I wish they'd just stick with making single core cpu's faster, every time a new processor comes out you gotta get a new motherboard with it, and then find out there's another comin out that has more cores but needs another new motherboard, and you wont see any improvement with the quad core untill games start using it, and by then they'll be some ne processor like an oct core or something. Thats whats happened with the dual core anyways.

tersytes
tersytes

There's no point in upgrading your CPU to quad-core so early just for its novelty sake especially when it's supported by only few games that aren't yet released.With no response from Intel's major rival AMD and the technology still in swaddling-clothes I'll just wait for couple of months and watch.Watch it carefully with my hand in my wallet.

marianox1
marianox1

We AMD believers aren't scared. HAIL AMD!!!!!!

hotlavaman
hotlavaman

i wish i knew what everyone was saying!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH

Scaryclouds
Scaryclouds

eldavo1 said: "I will go for the quad with the thinking that it futureproofs me a bit more." But is the extra year of "futureproof" worth an extra $500-$1000? I'm not attempting to knock the quad core but right now it would make more since to buy a motherboard that supports 2 processors and buy two AMD 5000+( or two of whatever Intel chips you want). The performance will be either equivalent or better than the quad core and it will be cheaper.

kfcheung
kfcheung

i'll stick with core 2 for a while since i just got it weeks ago and not many applications or games are optimized for 4 cores anyways so i see no point upgrading

kahuna9995
kahuna9995

I just love this kind of stuff. It's like the cold war arms race all over again (admittedly less chance of fall out with a processor explosion) at the moment in time this seems like Operation: Extreme Redundancy. Windows XP Home/Pro/64x editions don't support multiple core technology.. properly. The instruction management just assigns different cpu affinity to background/system tasks and user related tasks. Vista is going to have dual-core support but we've been working with the development versions in the office here and quite frankly I wouldn't touch Vista until SP1 or maybe even SP2 is developed for it. So what options does this leave your average gamer. Upgrade your entire system at no small expense. Invest in release version OS which is currently very broken all so you can appear to be getting Quad core performance and be able to run Directx 10 hardware when available... right that seems sensible to me. The next gen consoles have proven that you can run HD games/movies on your home TV, play online, download content all for a fraction of the price a system of this spec is going to cost you. Ok PC's will always be leading edge with the technology you can put in them but for high end performance I feel were all being short changed.

eldavo1
eldavo1

I will go for the quad with the thinking that it futureproofs me a bit more.

semperfi3
semperfi3

I will agree, the price tag is a bit steep on these processors, but if you want the best, this is where its at. www.PlugComputers.com

Scaryclouds
Scaryclouds

Anybody else find it odd how they are comparing a $1,500 and a $1,000 processor to a $320 processor? I'm not attempting to imply that Intel chips are inferior just the test results inaccurately show as Intel chips being far more advanced for what is assumed to be a similar price point.

satans_lord
satans_lord

already have a dual core. i think ill wait for a month theyll probably come out with a 100 core or something at this rate

Kfoss
Kfoss

OK they also forgot to mention the $1,000 price tag just for this stupid thing....WOooo Hooo WOW IM NOT RICH...more pointless upgrades...and of course AMD is not going to usted for long and i wil bet they will come up with something even better and then intel will out do them again...and on and on and on..untill we hit another wall in preformance! sheesh...who cares

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

ugh, my rig is getting obsoleated by leaps and bounds. DAMN YOU INTEL!!! AAAAAH :) No I am gonna make a new system next year I hope, just dont feel like spending 3k-4k

HAMMIEZ
HAMMIEZ

im still on a single core p4 3.0ghz :(

grimreaper91
grimreaper91

lol why dont they over clock the amd x2 5000+ itll eat the intel away plus like bycutza says the amd quad core will eat it badly

bycutza
bycutza

don't buy it yet..it's really useless... just wait for AMD's launch of quad CPU...u should compare intel core QX with quad AMDs coming early next year if u really want (or think u need) quad core...remember u also need a new motherboard :) ...and wait for the new games to be tested on quad core..so that u can see if it's really worth it.. we've seen desktop applications run much faster...but let's face it..it's the games that matter the most oh and i recommend..no i urge you NOT TO BUY EXTREME....it would probably be about 300 bucks more, and the performance difference would be like...5%.. Intel really knows how to manipulate...they say that the extreme version is EXTREME...(which really is not :) ) and they add about 200 bucks to the price of a cheaper core2... and of course all idiots buy the extreme version because they think their computer will go much faster because it's extreme...god damn intel....well AMD used this tactic too for a while :)

thekey
thekey

I have a feeling that the next xbox is going to have this processor or something similar.

Kholdstare_fire
Kholdstare_fire

Quad core machines are not designed primarily for gaming. Games are yet to take full advantage of dual cores and that is shown in the benchmarks. But for workstations these things are amazing. I'd still wait for DAAMITS move before running out and buying this though.

mydasx
mydasx

"Well, I have a Dual Core 3gig and it's like a pneumatic drill noise wise. Anyone with anything past a single core needs water cooling which will set you back even more cash which no doubt this will cost a lot too. Most people really don't need anything past a single core to get on quite well with their daily lives. Ok, graphic artists, designers and people who need their computer for multi-tasking is understandable but your average Joe? Don't think so. " Actually these procs run at a lower temperature then their pentium brethren. You may want to find out what's stuck in your heat sink fan. The beauty of dual core is that you can run at lower clock speed and increase the width of your command pipeline. M

blaze0001
blaze0001

"For the love of god when are they going to stop messing about and actually make something that is cheap, efficient, and compatible. If there was less competition between AMD and Intel to be the company which has the most cash, and more cooperation to ensure better performance and value for money then we would all have PC's with insane graphics and processing power. The only thing holding back the advance of technology is the company's who sell the stuff slowly to squeeze every groat out of the pockets of the consumer. When graphics resolutions and processor speeds get so insane that they aren't really an issue any more, maybe then we'll see more innovation in computing." What?....It's thanks to their competition that we can buy faster cpus and have them work hard to make the fastest cpu posible and yes these are much more powerful than the Pentium4 family. If they cooperated who knows how much they would charge for their cpus, after that smaller companies that make processers will start to step in and add more competition to the table. But if they all cooperated the price of cpus will surely go up. Hey dtfann003 so what if IBM has a pc that runs 100 cpus that doesn't make them efficient, and they're probably not small. The pc probably looks like one of those OLD a$$ computers that take up a, lot of room.

mydasx
mydasx

mistype "the people that are stating that games are taking advantage of multi core processors in this thread have no clue how windows programming is accomplished" Should have been the people that are stating that games are NOT taking advantage of multi core processors in this thread have no clue how windows programming is accomplished

mydasx
mydasx

"Intel has a lot to answer for with regards helping kill the PC games market and the home PC market. All for the sake of short term profits. And with PC Zone only promoting the most powerful of chips, like the above, and the most expensive/latest video cards they aren't helping either. It's a downright shame." pish posh. PC gaming is doing just fine. If you have questions about how PC gaming is doing, take a good look at the billion dollars blizzard has yeilded. Games are what push the hardware market, not the reverse. It is our need for better graphics that gets intel to keep pushing the envelope. Do i want 8 cores yup i do. Will i pay 1 grand for em' yep i will. More cores means more parallel processing, which means better application performance. All the people that are stating that games are taking advantage of multi core processors in this thread have no clue how windows programming is accomplished. (if you want proof hit alt cntl del in you XP machine and click the process tab, all those applications are running at the same time. This is called multithreading. multithreading happens not only at an appliction level but at sub application levels which means an application can be doing multiple things at the same time. IE painting teh screen and doing other useful things) Anything running in direct x is using multiple threads. If you only have one core, you can only compute one cpu command at a time. The clock speed is what determines how many of these commands you fire a second. The conventional wisdom was more commands per second the faster the applications performed. Well we hit the ceiling w/ silicon. So what now??? more procs on one chip. this mean where you used to be able to do only one command you are now doing 2. All games are multithreaded. How else do you think you get simaltanious reaction from your mouse and keyboard and screen paints? M

dtfann003
dtfann003

SO. IBM has A computer that run over a 100 cpu's

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

It is the power of CPU makers that is killing gaming. Intel are happy to sell CPU's that make huge profits and then onboard graphics that make huge profits for them, and then have huge advertising promoting the CPU above all else. This leaves us with most home PC sales having a powerful 3ghz+ processor, but onboard graphics and sound. This machine cannot play games, so game sales go down, and it is way too powerful a PC for just broadband, word processing, email, etc that people use their home PC for outside of gaming. Therefore those users will never have to upgrade beyond their current PC, hence much lower home PC sales, and they will never be able to purchase any of the PC games that are released,.even if they want to, because the games won't run on their graphics set-up.. Intel has a lot to answer for with regards helping kill the PC games market and the home PC market. All for the sake of short term profits. And with PC Zone only promoting the most powerful of chips, like the above, and the most expensive/latest video cards they aren't helping either. It's a downright shame.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

It is the power of CPU makers that is killing gaming. Intel are happy to sell CPU's that make huge profits and then onboard graphics that make huge profits for them, and then have huge advertising promoting the CPU above all else. This leaves us with most home PC sales having a powerful 3ghz+ processor, but onboard graphics and sound. This machine cannot play games, so game sales go down, and it is way too powerful a PC for just broadband, word processing, email, etc that people use their home PC for outside of gaming. Therefore those users will never have to upgrade beyond their current PC, hence much lower home PC sales, and they will never be able to purchase any of the PC games that are released,.even if they want to, because the games won't run on their graphics set-up.. Intel has a lot to answer for with regards helping kill the PC games market and the home PC market. All for the sake of short term profits. And with PC Zone only promoting the most powerful of chips, like the above, and the most expensive/latest video cards they aren't helping either. It's a downright shame.

jtenorj3
jtenorj3

made a blooper when descibing my current rig. I have 2x512MB PC3200, not 2xGB. just a clarification.

jtenorj3
jtenorj3

both xb360 xenon and ps3 cell use ibm powerpc architecture. xenon is 3 core x2 thread and cell has 9 similar sized dual threaded cores one is master and 8 are slave but only 7of 8 used in ps3 . cell and xenon @3.2ghz. all A64x2s are good procs, but the core2duos/extreme beat the crap out of them at similar price points. x2s have lower oc potential due to higher watts except for ee lower ghz models. e6300/e6400 35w, e6600/e6700 65w, x6800 75w, qx6700 130w!!! x2 3800+ ee sff 35w all am2 x2s save fx have 65w avail vs 89w and fx 62 is 125w. i have a64 3200+ 2.2ghz 512k L2 s754 89w 2x1GB pc3200 X800XL 256MB agp samsung 7200rpm 8MB cache 160GB sata HDD and SB Live! 24bit Advanced HD. would love e6400 oc to 333x8 using intel hsf or 400x8 w/aftermarket hsf on new nforce680 mobo w/ 2x1GB pc6400 4-4-4-12, 2x 8800gts, 2x150GB WD raptor raid 0 for os and games, 2x750GB Seagate raid 1 for storage, creative x-fi and 750GB usb backup drive. That would totally rock. too bad i have $10 and no job. oh well. maybe if i win the lottery sometime soon. one can only dream.....

grope2
grope2

is this power really necessary? i don't think i'll buy it right now. It sounds good though.

lighthero
lighthero

I'm happy with my Pentium3 1ghz coz i only use it to surf the net, chatting, typing, and printing stuff. I don't play PC games coz i have a Playstation2 that is a much more cheaper alternative.