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Core 2 Quad Gets Efficient: Enter The Q8200S And Q9550S

Core 2 Quad Gets Efficient: Enter The Q8200S And Q9550S
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Intel’s Core i7 processor family has been available for a few months now, but despite being the undisputed performance champion, it is not yet ready for the true mainstream. Processors, and especially motherboards, are still too expensive; and the existing models deliver their impressive performance at equivalently impressive power consumption figures. But users looking for the best balance between performance and efficiency have an interesting new option now: Intel has released its first 45 nm Core 2 Quad processors that stay below a specified power consumption of 65 W--the Core 2 Quad S series.

Bringing Power Consumption Down

Although processors have reduced their power consumption by more than 50% since the good old Pentium 4 powerhouse, the addition of processing cores typically increases power consumption, at least during high load conditions. While we believe it is absolutely acceptable to live with a certain power requirement for high performance parts, everything should be done to keep power consumption reasonable while the processor is idle or running at a low load level.

Features Versus Technology

All modern processors implement power saving features. Cool’n’Quiet by AMD and SpeedStep from Intel allow the operating system to lower the clock speed and processor voltage to decrease power consumption. In addition, processors are capable of switching into halt states, which means they may interrupt execution for very short periods of time. Finally, some sections of modern processors can be completely shut down when they are not needed; this has traditionally applied to caches, but is increasingly being used for processor cores as well.

Manufacturing technology keeps improving, and processor manufacturers use these advances to introduce minor improvements to their products. Our article AMD’s Athlon Stepping Improvements, which we published in March of 2008, is a great example. We took four different processors that are all named “Athlon 64 X2 5000+” but are all based on different silicon steppings, and compared them.

Improvements at the silicon level can be used to accelerate processors within particular thermal envelopes, or to decrease processor power. Intel did the latter here, introducing additional Core 2 Quad processors named the Q8200S, Q9400S, and Q9550S. These are as fast as the regular versions, but they don’t require up to 95 W of power. All three models stay below the mainstream thermal envelope of 65 W, which finally makes Intel quad cores interesting for low-power systems.

Check prices for Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9400S

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  • 35 Hide
    afrobacon , March 9, 2009 6:20 AM
    It would have been nice if the benchmarks would have included the equivalent "non s" model core 2 quads.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2009 2:02 PM
    any Overclocking?
Other Comments
  • 35 Hide
    afrobacon , March 9, 2009 6:20 AM
    It would have been nice if the benchmarks would have included the equivalent "non s" model core 2 quads.
  • 6 Hide
    Claimintru , March 9, 2009 6:38 AM
    Quote:
    The only real difference besides the power consumption level is their pricing, which is higher as a result of the lower energy use.


    Yay the money you save as a home user is completely negated by the price increase. 1.5 years later it might show, and by then your energy saving version of a processor that has been out already for months is even more obsolete.

    Big businesses however might benefit, but most workstation computers run on garbage parts just enough to keep a browser and word open.
  • -9 Hide
    zedx , March 9, 2009 6:41 AM
    What's the use of such overpriced products when you can get better efficiency with core i7 and similar idle consumption for only some $$$ more. And why only three processors? The review published at Anandtech http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3505 more than a month ago is much better. (Of course it doesn't include Q8200s but that doesn't matter much)
  • 1 Hide
    macer1 , March 9, 2009 7:11 AM
    another "great" article...........

    like previously posted way to also bench the "NON s" model....
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2009 9:21 AM
    This would\'ve been a great product a year or two ago, but IMHO it\'s only a smart buy today if let\'s say you\'re still holding on to your original Conroe Core2 e6300 that you bought the day it came out, and want to upgrade to a quad(assuming that your motherboard will support it, I believe we\'ve all been dissapointed before wanting to upgrade an Intel CPU and discovering that we have the right socket, but the wrong chipset...).
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2009 2:02 PM
    any Overclocking?
  • 5 Hide
    sublifer , March 9, 2009 2:10 PM
    afrobaconIt would have been nice if the benchmarks would have included the equivalent "non s" model core 2 quads.


    I at least expected the power consumption and power measurements to compare the non-"S" models.
    While it is nice to know how these quads do compared to a dual core, we all want to know whether its worth the investment buying the "S" version rather that the std. models currently available.
  • 2 Hide
    gaiden2k7 , March 9, 2009 2:19 PM
    I was kind of jumping back and forward did it ever mention how the 'S' cpu's overclocks compared to the non-'s' ones? I keep thinking lower TDP would actually reduce the O.C. capabilities. And ya, wished they would have compared it w/ the non-'s' ones... bummer.
  • 7 Hide
    thejerk , March 9, 2009 2:31 PM
    No, it didn't give any overclocking information, which would have been nice. And, certainly, comparisons to the non-S versions should have been included. The article is somewhat silly without the comparison.
  • 8 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , March 9, 2009 2:32 PM
    These benches are worthless without comparing them to the equivilent Q8200/Q9550. Why do I care how these new things compare to the E8500, and not the other Q-series chips they're replacing? It's cool to have a dual-core in there...but please...comparative gogo?
  • 4 Hide
    68vistacruiser , March 9, 2009 2:38 PM
    I have to agree with a lot of posters that the non-s versions should have been included. I do think some people would have liked to see over-clock figures, but I'm happy to see real-life comparisons. Final thoughts: this should help bring down the non-s prices, which works for me. And please people, don't bring up Anandtech ... their benchmarks are suspect as I feel they favor their best advertisers, and they like to block out opposing opinions on their website. I gave up on them several years ago after following their advise and making some pretty bad decisions. Never again!
  • 6 Hide
    KyleSTL , March 9, 2009 2:47 PM
    The 80Plus chart states that Gold requires 97% efficiency at 100% load. Please correct it to state 87%. Thanks.
  • 0 Hide
    A Stoner , March 9, 2009 5:00 PM
    Supply and demand determine prices. They feel the demand for the low power processors is enough that the prices will sell them out of supply. If they cannot move the parts fast enough at the price, the price will drop, or they will stop binning for that power envelope, even though the processors will still be lower power.
  • 4 Hide
    hellwig , March 9, 2009 6:12 PM
    If you had compared these quad-cores to, say an E8300 running at 2.83GHz, wouldn't we have seen the Q9550S use twice as much power at 100% load, seeing as a Q9550S is basically two E8300's slapped together.

    Also, why wouldn't Intel market their 45nm duo's at a lower TDP (AMD likes their 45W TDP BE-series Athlons). Seems to me nothing adds up here.

    I'll be waiting for more meaningfull benchmark comparisons.
  • 3 Hide
    jerreece , March 9, 2009 8:27 PM
    I have to agree with the others. This review REALLY needs to compare these energy efficient models with their, less efficient brethren. That's where the real difference is.

    And I have to admit, I'd like to have seen some OC numbers. My first thought when I saw the article was, "Oh cool, maybe they'll OC higher now too."

    Of course I have no idea if the chips OC at all now. :( 
  • 3 Hide
    judeh101 , March 9, 2009 9:16 PM
    what happened to the overclock?
  • 1 Hide
    marraco , March 9, 2009 9:42 PM
    65 W CPU generally are the better overclockers. Overclocking is the really important information that I want from this article, and compared with the same model at 95W, and other equally costly processor.

    It allow to decide best buys.
  • 2 Hide
    cadder , March 9, 2009 10:09 PM
    The overclocking ability is a big question. But then most businesses that use these would not overclock anyway. And maybe energy efficient quads would find their way into more laptops.

    I've been curious about processors like the P9500. It seems to be a fairly fast dual core processor, and it is at only 25W. Are they not used in desktops because of their high price? Was energy saving in a desktop not considered important until recently?
  • 0 Hide
    russofris , March 9, 2009 10:43 PM
    Any chance you can an E6600 to the graphs to give us a good baseline for comparison?
  • 0 Hide
    marraco , March 9, 2009 10:57 PM
    cadderThe overclocking ability is a big question. But then most businesses that use these would not overclock anyway. And maybe energy efficient quads would find their way into more laptops.I've been curious about processors like the P9500. It seems to be a fairly fast dual core processor, and it is at only 25W. Are they not used in desktops because of their high price? Was energy saving in a desktop not considered important until recently?

    On my work, it was decided to buy 2 new computers. I changed it to 5 computers, with the same budget, better performing, without overclocking, and wich I gonna overclock for sure.
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