Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 - Entering 45nm

The Desktop Penryn and Test Setup

Wolfdale and Yorkfield

The Wolfdale core is the dual-core desktop version of the Penryn family. All the features mentioned of the Penryn core before applies to Wolfdale as well. Yorkfield on the other hand, is a quad-core processor and is essentially two Woldfale cores on the same package. As such, there are no architectural or process changes between the two processors. With Yorkfield, you just double everything - four cores, 12MB L2 cache, 214mm² total die size and 820 million transistors in all.

Predictably, Intel will launch the flagship Extreme edition Yorkfield processor first, which makes it the most powerful consumer desktop processor out in the market today, maintaining Intel's leading position. The mainstream variants of both Wolfdale and Yorkfield will also begin shipping this quarter, but you'll only see availability in Q1'2008. Today, the only Penryn processor out of the gates of Chipzilla is the quad-core, 3.0GHz, 1333MHz FSB Core 2 Extreme QX9650, and this is the processor we'll be testing.

The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 up close and personal.

Bottom snapshot of the QX9650.

Test Setup

The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is the successor to July's quad-core QX6850, which also happens to be the ideal (and only) processor that can be used for direct performance comparison at the moment. Both are quad-core processors running at 3.0GHz on a 1333MHz FSB (9x333MHz). AMD's next generation Phenom desktop CPUs aren't here yet and it wouldn't be fair to use processors two generations back. We already know where the Athlon stands with the previous generation Conroes, so there is no reason to go down that road again. When we do get our hands on the Phenom, you can be sure of a full scale report then. For now, it's Yorkfield vs Kentsfield XE. We'll let the numbers do the talking.

CPU-Z screenshot of the processor capabilities.

Cache information. L1 remains the same, but check out the new 12MB 24-way associative L2.

The test bed setup used to benchmark both processors is as follows:-

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor (3.00GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 12MB L2)
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 processor (3.00GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 8MB L2)
  • Intel X38 reference motherboard
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 @ 7-7-20 CAS 7.0
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB - with ForceWare 162.18 drivers
  • Intel INF and AHCI driver set
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (and DirectX 9.0c)


The following benchmarks were used to determine the performance of the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650:-

  • BAPCo SYSmark 2007 Preview 1.02
  • SPEC CPU2000 v1.3
  • Lightwave 3D 7.5
  • Futuremark PCMark 2005 Pro
  • SPECviewperf 10.0
  • Cinebench 10
  • XMpeg 5.0.3 (DivX 6.7 encoding)
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • AquaMark3
  • Quake 4 v1.20
  • F.E.A.R.

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