Today we have the latest Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor in hand, and I know what you think, but no, this is not another extremely expensive processor with the same four cores and just a speed increase over the last QX6850, the we looked at last time. Hmm, ok, so I told you a white lie because it is still an extremely expensive processor, but it's not just another one in a chain of speed bumps. The new Core 2 Extreme QX9650 represents Intel's new flagship processor technology, previously known mainly under the code name "Penryn", which was manufactured in a 45 nm design process and added fifty new SSE4 instructions, among other things.
Now the actual QX9650 processor and other Penryn quad cores have been given their own code names, namely "Yorkfield". Since this special processor belongs to the Extreme series, its full name is Yorkfield XE. Similarly, future dual-core CPUs based on Penryn will bear the code name "Wolfdale" after their release. To complete the equation, you should know that Yorkfields are really two Wolfdale chips stuck together. This is the same as previous Kentsfield quad-core processors, which were actually just two Conroe chips glued together in one package. This may be a little confusing, but when the time comes to buy, it is important to identify each core version and understand the benefits of one generation of chips over another in order to ultimately make the better purchase decision.
The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is the first of many products released with the Penryn architecture. Like the previous Core 2 Extreme QX6850, the QX9650 works at 3.0 GHz, but offers a number of improvements. Perhaps the most well-known 45 nm high-k metal gate silicon technology from Intel, which is considered the first in the industry and contains transistors with reduced power loss to reduce power consumption and at the same time enable higher clock rates. This is a big deal considering that Intel has been using conventional silicon oxide technology since 1960.
In addition to the obvious shrinkage, the Penryn architecture offers a faster Radix 16 divider, faster operating system primitive support, improved memory forwarding, split load cache improvements, improved virtualization technology, and improved dynamic acceleration technology. While all of this sounds good on paper, we know in real life that this newer Core 2 architecture is faster and more efficient. We saw a significantly lower power consumption and operating temperatures. These are all aspects that we will uncover in this review, but let me just say for now that the QX9650 generated strong overclocking stress temperatures comparable to those of a Conroe dual-core processor operating at its standard frequency .
If we continue to benchmark the QX9650, the differences and advantages that Penryn offers today will be very easy to see, since the QX9650 and QX6850 (65 nm Kentsfield) both operate at 3.0 GHz and have the same bus speeds on the Use front side for comparison, put head to head. Also note that the QX9650 gets a 12 MB L2 cache boost, while the QX6850 only has 8 MB.