Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 - Quad Core goes 'Mainstream'


2007- Quad Core takes Center S....

2007- Quad Core takes Center Stage

After losing the battle lines consecutively for three years, the second half of 2006 saw a complete reversal of fortunes for Intel and their Core microarchitecture range of processors. From holding the rear-end of processor performance in the mid and high-end lineup, the incoming of the Core 2 Duo processor and its variants lunged Intel forward with industry leading performance, power and thermals. So Core 2 Duo wins hands down in the Dual Core processor segment, but AMD at that point of time was already throwing teasers of their Quad FX platform (also known as 4x4 platform). As we all know by now, AMD's plans to dethrone Intel was sideswiped when the blue team dished out the first ever consumer-class quad-core processor (Core 2 Extreme QX6700) in November 2006.

Fortunately or unfortunately, AMD's Quad FX platform did debut late in December, but we feel that it's a case of getting even in terms of numbers, or rather, the number of processing cores in a system. Whichever way you look at the Quad FX platform, it's far from being an easy adoption route, what with high power consumption, high thermals and abnormally large footprint required for its physically large setup, AMD's current 'megatasking' platform is really only applicable to a very small niche user group (which we wonder if it exists at all). As reported by the handful of web reviews, its performance is at best on par with a simple and elegant Core 2 Extreme QX6700 system, but more often than not, it falls short. Add up the other mentioned attributes and the Quad FX platform seems more of a product lineup filler for AMD's 'quad' solution, and not an idealistic approach for end-users.

We've barely started 2007 and while AMD is busy renewing their current 90nm process technology based CPUs in the market with the more power efficient 65nm process variants of their existing performance rating models, Intel is already ushering in the new year with yet another Quad Core SKU and setting the pace of the CPU industry for things to come in 2007. Enter the Core 2 Quad Q6600, which like the earlier released Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor, is also a Kenstfield class processor. This means it's made up of two Conroe dies sandwiched in the same packaging, but the Q6600 is clocked lower at 2.4GHz. To catch up on Kentsfield and other matters pertaining to its core, you can find all of those in last year's QX6700 article . Thermal and power specs of the new Core 2 Quad Q6600 are a little more tamed in comparison to the Extreme companion, so here's a comparison of how it stacks up with it and the Conroe class processors which we'll be comparing against today:-

High-End Multi-Core Processors Compared
Processor Name Core 2 Quad Core 2 Extreme (quad-core) Core 2 Extreme (dual-core) Core 2 Duo 64 FX
Processor Model Q6600 QX6700 X6800 E6600, E6700 FX-62
Processor Frequency 2.40GHz 2.67GHz 2.93GHz 2.40GHz, 2.67GHz 2.8GHz
No. of Cores 4 4 2 2 2
Front Side Bus (MHz) 1066 1066 1066 1066 -
HyperTransport Bus - - - - 1GHz (2000MT/s)
L1 Cache (data + instruction) (32KB + 32KB) x 4 (32KB + 32KB) x 4 (32KB + 32KB) x 2 (32KB + 32KB) x 2 (64KB + 64KB) x 2
L2 Cache 4MB x 2 4MB x 2 4MB 4MB 1MB x 2
Memory Controller External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800) External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800) External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800) External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800) Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800)
VID (V) 0.85 - 1.50 0.85 - 1.50 0.85 - 1.3625 0.85 - 1.3625 1.35 - 1.40
Icc (max) (A) 115 125 90 75 90.4
TDP (W) 105 130 75 65 125
Execute Disable Bit Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel EM64T / AMD64 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) / AMD Cool 'n' Quiet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtualization Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Packaging LGA775 LGA775 LGA775 LGA775 AM2
Process Technology 65nm 65nm 65nm 65nm 90nm SOI
Processor Codename Kentsfield Kentsfield Conroe Conroe Windsor
Die Size 286mm² 286mm² 143mm² 143mm² 230mm²
No. of Transistors 582 million 582 million 291 million 291 million 227.4 million