We have already mentioned multiple times that the launch of the new Intel Core i7 family will inevitably affect the entire processor market. And it is true not only for the upper price segment, where CPUs on new Nehalem micro-architecture will soon be running the show. Intel prepared a few pleasant surprises for those users who are not going to switch to the new platform right away because of its high price, for instance. Before the launch of the new Core i7 Intel decided to make quad-core more affordable and dropped the official prices of its junior Core 2 Quad models. Starting from October 19 the cheapest Intel quad-core CPU – Core 2 Quad Q6600 – costs $183, and the youngest quad-core processor manufactured using 45nm process is priced at $193. So, now that Core 2 Quad processors are available for less than $200 they have every chance to settle down well in the mainstream price segment.
In fact, this price correction allows us to expect the share of quad-core processors among Intel supply to reach 30% by the end of this year. In other words, we have every reason to say that Core 2 Quad is becoming a mainstream solution. Therefore, following the article devoted to high-end and budget dual-core solutions we decided to write about affordable quad-core processors. Especially since there have been a few new models introduced in this segment recently.
Namely, there appeared a very interesting inexpensive processor - Core 2 Quad Q8200 that on the one hand became the youngest Yorkfield instead of Core 2 Quad Q9300, but on the other hand acquired not only the advantages of 45nm cores, but also limited characteristics. Core 2 Quad Q9300, however, has been transferred into outdated pool. Now you can get a new faster Core 2 Quad Q9400 for the same price. Only the good old long-lived Core 2 Quad Q6600 manufactured with 65nm process doesn’t change. Strange as it might seem, but it is not only current, but also very popular among users.
AMD also don’t keep their hands in pockets. Although their quad-core processors offer lower performance than Intel solutions and are not so widely spread, Phenom X4 series also keeps growing. They have recently launched Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition that can finally compete successfully against the least expensive Core 2 Quad models.
Actually, our today’s article is going to be devoted to all of the above mentioned CPUs. In this review we are going to compare the most interesting affordable desktop processors with four cores. However, before we get down to the actual benchmark results, let’s take a closer look at those processors that we see for the first time.