Intel's 45 nm Penryn CPU: 4 GHz Air Cooled

Penryn-Based Core 2 CPUs - Models, Prices, New Boxed Cooler

Intel is launching the Penryn family with a single processor, namely the Core 2 Extreme QX9650. This situation won't change until next year, as the introduction of further Penryn-based processors is expected in the first quarter of 2008; these will run at lower clock speeds and also cost less. Still, up to five months may pass before the lower speed processor versions become available. All of the new models will use a 333 MHz FSB.

Overview of Future Penryn-CPUs
Model Clock Speed Cache Availability
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 3.00 GHz 2x 6 MB November 12
Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83 GHz 2x 6 MB Q1/2008
Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66 GHz 2x 6 MB Q1/2008
Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.50 GHz 2x 3 MB Q1/2008
Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16 GHz 1x 6 MB Q1/2008
Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00 GHz 1x 6 MB Q1/2008
Core 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHz 1x 6 MB Q1/2008

Please note that the entries for the smaller models are not based on official information from Intel, and may thus still change.

The upcoming models running at 2.5 GHz, 2.83, GHz and 3.16 GHz will require support for half-step multipliers, 8.5x for example, a technique implemented in the Penryn architecture. Our MSI P35 Neo2 board is already equipped to handle these processors, and offers appropriate multipliers. Despite the fact that we used a brand-new BIOS emailed to us directly from Taiwan, our Gigabyte X38 board GA_X38-DQ6 did not yet support such multipliers.

For now, if you want to call a Penryn your own, be prepared to pay about $1,440 US for the QX9650. If that's a little outside your budget, you'll have to wait a few months until other models become available.

Chipsets

Intel's X38, P35, and G33 chipsets officially support Penryn processors.

The box of Foxconn's X38 board.

We already have a Foxconn X38A Digitalife in our lab.

Now, a quick anecdote for your entertainment. When we received our review sample from Intel, we couldn't wait to test it. However, the Gigabyte and MSI motherboards refused to even start with this processor. When we asked the manufacturers for an updated BIOS, the reply came from Taiwan that they'd love to help us - but hadn't received Penryn CPU samples yet. Apparently, Intel jumped the gun here and supplied the press before thinking of the motherboard makers - a situation we have never experienced before.

The northbridge of the X38 chipset.

Officially, neither the 965P nor the 975X officially supports 45 nm processors.

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