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Core 2 Quad Q9300 vs. Core 2 Duo E8500

Core 2 Quad Q9300 has one more rival among Intel’s CPUs, besides Core 2 Quad Q6600. It is a dual-core Core 2 Duo E8500 that is also selling for $266 and is manufactured with 45nm process. Of course, there are users who work with specific applications and they know very well if they need more parallelism offered by a quad-core solution. However, many of you may have hard time trying to decide between Core 2 Quad Q9300 and Core 2 Duo E8500, when you see these two processors side by side in the official price list. Especially, since Core 2 Duo E8500 with a pair of cores runs at 27% higher clock speed, which may be much more important for some applications than an additional pair of cores onboard.

The table below should help you make the decision between the two. It shows the comparative performance data for Core 2 Quad Q9300 and Core 2 Duo E8500:

This picture is very ambiguous. There are still quite a lot of applications that haven’t been optimized for CPUs with more than two cores that is why Core 2 Quad Q9300 gets often defeated by Core 2 Duo E8500 due to the higher clock frequency of the latter. It is especially frustrating that games, even the latest ones, fall into the non-optimized applications category, as they still cannot use efficiently the advantages of multi-core micro-architecture. However, the situation is not as hopeless as it was 6 months ago, for instance. Game developers started paying some attention to optimizing their work for processors with more than two cores onboard. The list of games that provide quality quad-core processors support has increased significantly and currently includes such popular titles as Supreme Commander, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Unreal Tournament 3, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, etc.

As for those applications where quad-core Core 2 Quad Q9300 does demonstrate excellent results, I have to certainly mention rendering in 3D modeling systems. Video codecs are also quite optimized for multi-threading.

As a result, it is simply impossible to claim that Core 2 Quad Q9300 or Core 2 Duo E8500 win this race. Intel made a very wise move having priced these two processor models equally: the choice is now solely the user’s responsibility and to do it the right way he/she has to figure out what types of applications the system is being built for primarily. As for the general purpose systems (from the performance prospective), dual-core Core 2 Duo E8500 seems to be a little more optimal choice these days, while Core 2 Quad Q9300 will definitely be a better option for a long-term prospective, because more and more applications start to support multi-threading.

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