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Intel Core 2 refresh: QX6850, E6850 & E6750

Manufacturer: Intel

At the end of last month, we previewed the performance of Intel’s then soon-to-be-released Core 2 Duo E6750 – Intel’s first desktop processor with a 1333MHz front side bus speed. During that article, we hinted that the release of a whole host of 1333MHz FSB processors was imminent and that day has finally arrived.

In conjunction with its scheduled price cuts, Intel will introduce five new processors with 1333MHz front side buses into the market on July 22nd and we have had three of them in-house for a bit of benchmarking over the past few weeks. Let's have a look at how this changes the processor price/performance matrix...

22nd July Price Cuts:

Amongst the processors being announced yesterday there is one new quad-core processor at the high-end and four deceptively mainstream processors that will refresh the top end of Intel’s dual-core lineup.

We say deceptively mainstream for a reason because in actual fact they’re replacing Intel’s current flagship dual-core processors at some quite outstanding price points. Indeed the E6850, Intel’s fastest dual-core processor, will set you back around £160 (inc. VAT) – this is in stark contrast to the company’s previous fastest dual-core processor, the Core 2 Extreme X6800, which is still priced at over £600 (inc. VAT).

Intel dual-core processor pricing (effective July 22nd)
ModelFrequencyFSBL2 CachePrice (1Ku)UK Pricing
Core 2 Extreme X68002.93GHz1066MHz4MB$999£600
Core 2 Duo E68503.00GHz1333MHz4MB$266£160
Core 2 Duo E67502.66GHz1333MHz4MB$183£115
Core 2 Duo E67002.66GHz1066MHz4MB$316£190
Core 2 Duo E66002.40GHz1066MHz4MB$224£135
Core 2 Duo E65502.33GHz1333MHz4MB$163£100
Core 2 Duo E65402.33GHz1333MHz4MB$163£100
Core 2 Duo E64202.13GHz1066MHz4MB$183£115
Core 2 Duo E64002.13GHz1066MHz2MB$183£115
Core 2 Duo E63201.86GHz1066MHz4MB$163£100
Core 2 Duo E63001.86GHz1066MHz2MB$163£100
Core 2 Duo E44002.00GHz800MHz2MB$113£70
Core 2 Duo E43001.80GHz800MHz2MB$113£70
Intel dual-core processor pricing, effective July 22nd 2007

Lower down the range, the Core 2 Duo E6750 is priced as was rumoured on the day we previewed the Core 2 Duo E6750’s performance at the end of June. It’ll sit at $183 or around £115 (inc. VAT) in Great British Squids. That’s significantly lower than the Core 2 Duo E6700, which comes with roughly the same performance on a 1066MHz front side bus.

The trend continues further down the line too as the E6550 and E6540, which are both clocked at 2.33GHz, are the same price as the E6320 and E6300. This also means that they’re at lower price points than the Core 2 Duo E6420 and E6400. The E6540 and E6550 are essentially the same processor with the only difference being that Intel TXT isn't enabled on the latter (we discuss this technology over the page in more detail). If anything, it’s as if Intel is deliberately pushing these new 1333MHz FSB processors out into the market to sell more motherboards based on its 3-series chipset.

Intel quad-core processor pricing (effective July 22nd)
ModelFrequencyFSBL2 CachePrice (1Ku)UK Pricing
Core 2 Extreme QX68503.00GHz1333MHz2x4MB$999£600
Core 2 Extreme QX68002.93GHz1066MHz2x4MB$999£600
Core 2 Quad Q67002.66GHz1066MHz2x4MB$530£310
Core 2 Quad Q66002.40GHz1066MHz2x4MB$266£160
Intel quad-core processor pricing, effective July 22nd 2007

If we move onto Intel’s quad-core lineup, the trend continues as both the QX6850 and QX6800 are at the same price point. We’ve omitted the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 from the table because it’s not going to be around for very long; it’s being replaced by the Core 2 Quad Q6700, which is practically the same CPU with the only difference being that the Q6700 cannot use multipliers higher than 9x.

Considering the fact that the Q6700 is almost half the price of what the QX6700 is currently priced at, we’d do without the unlocked multiplier and increase the front side bus when overclocking instead – that’s generally the preferred method of overclocking anyway. If you’re looking for a quad-core processor, but the attractively priced Q6700 is out of your reach, Intel has lowered the barrier of entry to $266 or around £160 (inc. VAT) – final UK retail pricing is not confirmed at this time.

That puts it at exactly the same price point as the Core 2 Duo E6850 – Intel’s fastest dual-core processor. Even though there are several games on the way that will make use of multiple processors (and some will even make use of quad-core), there are undoubtedly going to be some that will find the Q6600 a hard sell over the E6850 largely because of the massive difference in clock speed. Hopefully we’ll be able to answer some of your quad-core concerns over the course of this article.