bit-tech.net

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700

Intel successfully launched its eagerly-anticipated Core 2 Duo desktop processor line up in the middle of July, just a week before Chief Executive Paul Otellini started talking about the company’s next move in the desktop microprocessor market. Just six days after the Core 2 Duo launch, Intel held its quarterly conference call where Otellini stated that “We notified [our] customers that we’re pulling in both the desktop and server [launch] of the first quad-core processors into the fourth quarter of this year from the first half of 2007.”

This came as a big shock to me and for it to come so soon after the launch of Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors made the announcement even harder to believe. Anyway, the announcement happened and Intel has stayed true to its word – today, the chip giant is officially unveiling its first quad-core processor under the Core 2 Extreme ‘gamer’ moniker.

Rolling out quad-core

The Core 2 Extreme QX6700 is clocked at the same frequency as the Core 2 Duo E6700 – 2.67GHz with a 1066MHz front side bus – and comes with a whopping 8MB of L2 cache split into two lots of 4MB. We’ll explain why this is the case later.

Intel tells us that the QX6700 will fit in at the US$999 price point in 1000 unit quantities. That’s the same price point that the Core 2 Extreme X6800 slotted in at back in July. The street price will obviously be a little different, but since Intel’s Core 2 Extreme X6800 sells for a whopping £643 including VAT, you can expect the QX6700 to cost around the same as the Conroe-based X6800 chip.

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700
Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (left) / Core 2 Extreme X6800 (right) - virtually no visual differences
However, since the QX6700 is a newer product, one can expect it to cost a little more than the X6800 when it first appears on the market on November 14th, but the two should cost about the same once the market starts to settle down when sufficient volume gets into the hands of retailers.

Initially, there will only be the one quad-core processor in Intel’s line up, but a second will follow in Q1 ’07. When the Core 2 Quad Q6600 is announced, it’ll not come as much of a surprise to you to find that it’ll be clocked at the same speed as the Core 2 Duo E6600 – 2.40GHz with a 1066MHz front side bus.

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700
Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (left) / Core 2 Extreme X6800 (right) - the back of the processors reveal some differences
The only other differentiating feature between the Q6600 and the QX6700 is that the former has its multiplier locked between 6.0x and 10.0x. You’ll get the same 8MB of L2 cache split into a pair of 4MB L2 caches and if Kentsfield overclocks anywhere near as well as its dual-core counterparts, we’re in for a bit of a treat.

While we don’t have pricing forecasts on that particular part, we would expect it to cost about the same price as a Core 2 Duo E6700 if past pricing structures are anything to go by. Intel’s official pricing for the E6700 is US$530 in 1000 unit quantities, and you can pick one up from an online retailer for around £345 including VAT.