Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX9770 Preview - Updatedby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 19, 2007 12:02 AM EST
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Not since the Pentium 4 days have we been worried about processors throttling and overheating, but this QX9770 is one hot chip. These four data-hungry cores running at 3.2GHz have given us more problems than any other Core 2 processor, including the QX9650 we recently reviewed.
Gary's QX9770 wouldn't complete 3DMark '06 without switching to a third-party heatsink. Mine wouldn't run through POV-Ray or 3dsmax without giving me lower scores than the QX9650 due the processor's internal temperature protection reducing its clock speed during the benchmarks.
These chips are early silicon and Intel had better solve these issues by the time they ship (after all, people who spend more than $1K on a processor have the right to expect stability), but our chips were definitely the most finicky we've gotten out of Intel since the Core 2 launch.
We're not entirely sure the problem lies with the CPUs or the motherboards or a combination of both, since the heatsinks never actually felt all that hot and we didn't have these problems with the QX9650.
The problems do seem related to heat though, a fresh layer of thermal compound and switching to a newer Intel retail heatsink/fan fixed my issues well enough for me to run through all the tests.