Articles: CPU

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Core 2 Quad Q9300 vs. Core 2 Quad Q6600

The first question that we tend to ask once we checked out the specifications of the new quad-core CPU is: will it be faster than the predecessor? We have already seen in case of dual-core CPUs, that Wolfdale processors easily outperform previous generation Core 2 Duo E6000 from the same price range. However, with dual-core processors is all very simple: Wolfdale CPUs have higher clock speeds and larger cache-memory than Conroe. As for quad-core Core 2 Quad Q9300, the situation is a little different. Although its clock speed is a little higher than that of Core 2 Quad Q6600, its L2 cache is smaller.

In order to dissipate all negative anticipations about Core 2 Quad Q9300 performance, we compared its results against those of Core 2 Quad Q6600:

The benchmark results indicate clearly that all our concerns were absolutely unfounded. Core 2 Quad Q9300 is faster than Core 2 Quad Q6600 even without a larger L2 cache, only thanks to architectural improvements introduced in Penryn processors, higher bus frequency and 100MHz higher clock speed. Moreover, there isn’t a single application where the old CPU would demonstrate higher results, and the overall performance advantage is about 7%, which is quite a lot.

Of course, the performance difference between the youngest Kentsfield and Yorkfield processors depends on the type of workload. Micro-architectural improvements bring in the highest performance improvement in final rendering and video content processing tasks. As for gaming applications, they are less optimistic towards Core 2 Quad Q9300, as they are sensitive to cache memory size.

So, the new quad-core Intel processor that will be selling for $266, is definitely at least as good as the old one. Moreover, it boasts one hidden advantage: it supports SSE4.1 instructions that will be more important a little later, when software applications using these instructions become numerous enough.

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