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Home > Hardware Reviews > PC Parts

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Intel QX6700

2. Conroe QX6700 (Kentsfield)

- Conroe QX6700 (Kentsfield)

The Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor QX6700 is available at 2.66GHz with a 1066MHz FSB and 8MB L2 cache. The processor runs on Intel’s existing 965P/975X Express chipset family. Most currently sold motherboards, either with a BIOS update or from scratch, support Quad Core CPUs. Before purchasing, check compatibility with the motherboard manufacturer.

Intel plans to start selling quad-core processors starting with the first quarter of next year, under the Intel Core 2 Quad processor brand name. The retail price is estimated to be around US$999, making it a rather expensive CPU for most users. Intel also plans to introduce the Core 2 Quad Q6600 in the first quarter of next year, with a lower running speed (2.4GHz) and TDP (105W). As we all know, the Conroe series (currently sold Core2Duo series) has two cores built-in under the same hood.

Kentsfield series (Quad core), includes four cores:

In a typical scenario, dual-core processors will divide integer/floating point at both cores:

while four core processors, have two floating point/integer threads:

Below we can see a picture illustrating the four cores:

The TDP for QX6700 is twice that of an E6700 (2x65W) resulting in 130W. That produces a lot of heat. Intel has bulked a rather noisy CPU fan along, that rotates at 5000rpm, in order to keep the QX6700 cool. At that speed, the CPU runs at 25°C while at full load, it reaches 45°C. It's very important that the CPU run at as low a temperature as possible, otherwise performance will be heavily affected (confirmed in our test results).

A more challenging feat would be overclocking at such high temperatures. A water cooling system would be more effective in this case. Intel officially has stated that all Quad Core CPUs would have an unlocked multiplier, allowing good overclocking capabilities and, of course, underclocking so as to reduce overall temperature.

What users should understand, is that the Quad Core processors are only effective when there is the appropriate software to take advantage of them. There isn't a lot of software available that would use all four cores, so in some cases, the QX6700 could be as slow as the XE6800. The most obvious case is games. However, this is expected to change next year, when game developers start to utilize multi-core CPUs in order to provide higher and better gaming experience. Of course, with such a processor, you can encode, listen to music, even play games without any noticeable performance drop. That is what Intel calls "Quad-Core Era".




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