Paper Tiger Against AMD
Only three weeks ago, Intel unveiled its 45 nm fabrication technology in the shape of the Penryn processor. However, the only model available at launch was the Extreme Edition model QX9650. Compare Prices on Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Since the Extreme Edition models have always come in at just under $1,470, the energy efficient 45 nm technology will remain out of reach for most users. In other words, for now there will be no revolution in the mass market.
As we were gearing up to cover the launch of AMD's highly anticipated Phenom quad-core processor, we received an email with the following information (our paraphrase).
Intel is planning to unveil a new 45 nm processor with the designation Core 2 Extreme QX9770. This new part will become available in the first quarter of 2008. Furthermore, Intel informed us that we should simulate this new CPU using the QX9650 in or lab, as it wouldn't be distributing any review samples, since none exist yet.
This is the first time in recent memory that Intel is introducing a new processor without having a concrete model at hand. Our obvious conclusion - Intel is worried about AMD's Phenom launch and is trying to steal the limelight.
Looking back at the introduction of AMD's first Athlon 64 processor, we can understand Intel's anxiety. At the time, Intel's Netburst architecture was no match for the young and fresh Athlon 64. Back then, the processor heavyweight followed the same strategy, pulling the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition out of its hat at the last minute before AMD's launch. This part was based on the Northwood core, featured 3 MB of L2 cache, and was basically a repackaged and rebranded Xeon processor.
The new Extreme Edition QX9770 runs on a 400 MHz FSB (1600QDR) and uses an 8x multiplier, resulting in a clock speed of 3.20 GHz. Thus, Intel's big announcement is basically that it is raising the frequency of its high end CPU by 200 MHz.
This is what a Core 2 Extreme QX9770 could look like come 2008.
Since there is currently no chipset in the market that (officially) supports FSB1600, Intel suggests using a current X38 motherboard and overclocking the FSB manually. This is both strange and remarkable. After all, Intel has always been a great advocate of using its products within their specifications, putting stability first. What could have motivated this sudden change in attitude, we wonder?