The first desktop processors based on Core micro-architecture were launched almost a year ago. These CPUs that came to replace the NetBurst based solutions represented new Intel’s concept. This concept declared the end of “gigahertz chase” and put absolutely new processor features atop of the priority list. The primary focus was then on the most optimal balance between the performance and power consumption. That is why the direct comparison between the top Core 2 Duo processors announced in 2006 and the today’s latest models may be pretty discouraging. The maximum clock frequency of CPUs on Core micro-architecture hasn’t really increased over the past year. Over this period of time Intel has launched a few new CPU models with lower clock speeds and smaller L2 cache memory that were targeted for low-cost computer systems, however, they haven’t got into production of CPUs with frequencies beyond 2.93GHz. This is how the new concept has actually kicked in: further frequency increase would cause CPU power consumption to get higher and it will not be comparable with the performance improvement resulting from it, thus making processor like that power-inefficient.
However, it is impossible to claim that no progress has been made in terms of Core based processor improvement. Without touching the maximum clock speed, Intel engineers managed to double the number of computational cores in their solutions. Now top processors with Core micro-architecture feature four cores instead of two. And their clock frequency is not any lower than that of the dual-core models. This particular change ensured that top models in the lineup received a significant performance boost.
So, by the first birthday of Intel’s Core micro-architecture the company could already boast some real success stories, such as significant CPU performance boost as well as considerable strengthening of their position in the market. However, Intel marketing people felt they needed more than that. Therefore, today the company is launching a few new dual-core and quad-core models that would push up the maximum frequency of the Core 2 processor family: today the top processors on Core micro-architecture will conquer 3GHz milestone.
On the one hand, we cannot really claim that the launch of 3.0GHz processor is a significant step forward, because it actually means that the operating frequency has got only 67MHz higher. However, on the other hand, these new processor can boast one more advantage compared with the predecessors: they support faster 1333MHz system bus with 10.7GB/s peak bandwidth. The 25% increase in processor bus frequency should be a more important factor that would help raise the performance of Intel solutions to a new level.
Besides the launch of 3GHz processor on two and four cores, Intel is also officially announcing a few dual-core processors with lower working frequencies and the same 1333MHz bus support. The table below contains the full list of new solutions coming out today together with their major specifications and pricing:
We have already introduced to you the first processors with 1333MHz bus in our article called New Member In Core 2 Duo Processor Family: Introducing CPUs with 1333MHz Bus. So, today we are going to discuss the new top solution from Intel designed for computer enthusiasts – the quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6850.