Update: Core 2 Extreme QX9770 at 3.2 GHz

Intel QX9770 Penryn

Apparently, our article caused quite a stir at a certain processor company’s headquarters, so we thought it was time to give you an update on what has happened since this article went live.

Intel contacted us in response to this article, informing us that the Core 2 Duo Extreme QX9770 was in no way a “paper tiger”. To back up that claim, Intel Germany sent us a real, tangible silicon version of the chip by courier the next day. Additionally, we received some answers to the questions that had cropped up in our original article.

The specifications of the QX9770 with 3.20 GHz have changed slightly compared to those of the QX9650 with 3.00 GHz. For example, the core voltage has seen a minor increase from 1.2500 Volts to 1.2875 Volts. As such, that’s nothing unusual and could be due to fluctuations in the production process – a normal fact of life for any line of CPUs.

Intel QX9770 Update

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. Since the Extreme Edition models have always come in at just under €1000 (£715), the energy efficient 45 nm technology will remain out of reach for most users. In other words, for now there will be no real 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 (which is paraphrased).

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. The obvious conclusion is therefore– 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.

CPU-Z-Screenshot of the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 that Intel sent us.

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?

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  • spuddyt
    hang on? pg 4, the table is in german (not that it matters, since the nm doesn't really change between language...
  • spuddyt
    and on pg 7, that comment about it being for the enthusiast segment..... i'm not so sure...... since if its basically just a higher FSB version, most enthusiasts will just take it way higher anyway
  • mi1ez
    I think it's hilarious how concerned intel were at the last article- it didn't put that bad a light on it as I remember...
  • topman
    lol intel got that CPU to you qwick and i am glad i did not by a x38m i would of bin pist D:
  • wild9
    More upgrade confusion..great if you have wads of cash. Not so great for Intel as most people don't.
  • MJ_Frosty
    Best and most greatest selfish example of industry driven dribble I have ever seen. Pointless and further more petty baby steps towards getting the high stand. Nice.
  • raotor
    Can't really see the point of this CPU.

    Apart from neding a new chipset, what's the deal with a mere 5% performance increase for an additional 40% more power consumption.

    Given the impressive energy efficiency of the QX9650, I don't understand how so much extra power is drawn for the tiny boost in performance - what's going on?
  • Capitannimo
    I think its important that you incorporate into your review on the qx9770 the following info I got from Intel support:

    Thank you for contacting Intel(R) Customer Support.

    The only cooling solution we recommend for this processor is the liquid based cooling. We can not guarantee performance nor reliability if an air cooling solution is used.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you need further assistance.


    Intel(R) Customer Support