After the incredible launch of Intel's Conroe earlier this year it's not too easy to follow that up, even if Intel is launching the world's first quad core desktop processor. The Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 is based on the new Kentsfield core, which we previewed not too long ago at IDF.

It's tough to tell a Kentsfield apart from a Conroe; although it sounds like a lot, 582 million transistors don't really feel any heavier than only 291 million (and it won't even sound like a lot after another week). With a heat spreader covering the flipchip cores, you can't tell that Kentsfield is nothing more than two Conroes placed on a single package. Much like Presler before it, Kentsfield is technically a quad-core processor with two separate die on the same package.


Core 2 Duo (left) vs. Core 2 Quad (right) - The only visible differences are the filter caps underneath the chip

We've shown in the past that there's no real world performance penalty to this approach to manufacturing, and there are numerous benefits from Intel's perspective. Yields are improved by producing a two die quad-core processor rather than a single die. The approach also improves manufacturing flexibility since Intel can decide at a very late stage whether to produce a dual or quad core processor after a die is fabbed.

CPU Manufacturing Process Transistor Count Die Size
AMD Athlon 64 X2 (2x512KB) 90nm 154M 183 mm^2
Intel Core 2 Duo 65nm 291M 143 mm^2
Intel Core 2 Quad 65nm 291M x 2 143 mm^2 x 2
Intel Pentium D 900 65nm 188M x 2 81 mm^2 x 2

The end result is you get 582 million transistors, built on a 65nm process, running at 2.66GHz for $999. You'll note that the price is equal to Intel's Core 2 Extreme X6800 with only two cores but running at 2.93GHz, and once again we're faced with the more cores or higher clock speed dilemma. In January 2007 Intel will introduce a slightly higher production model, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 running at 2.40GHz and a new $851 price point. Of course we'll benchmark both today.

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz 2 x 4MB $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 4MB $999
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 2 x 4MB $851*
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 4MB $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 4MB $316
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $224
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 2MB $183
Intel Pentium D 945 3.40GHz 2MBx2 $163
Intel Pentium D 915 2.80GHz 2MBx2 $113
Intel Pentium D 820 2.80GHz 1MBx2 $93
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66GHz 1MBx2 $93

*To be released in Q1 2007
More Cores, but where's the Elegance?
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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    I am quite sure that 4x4 is for 1207 and not AM2. Sorry. I am also quite sure that 1207 will get quad core support, so long-term a 4x4 (dual dual core) can become... 4x8? (dual quad core). Anyway, in that sense it's just like Core 2 Duo and Quad.

    The questions I don't have answers to: will the 4x4 begin with a K8L chip, or just a tweaked K8? Will K8L be more competitive with Core 2? When will it finally come out? How much will it cost? Actually, I can sort of guess on the last point that 4x4 will cost a lot more than a Core 2 Quad config as you will need a more expensive mobo, RAM, and two CPU packages.

    I *think* Anand plans to have an article delving into 4x4 and AMD's plans more in the future. Maybe he's still gathering data from AMD? (Sort of like squeezing water from a dry spongue at times, unfortunately....)
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    quote:

    more expensive....RAM


    I don't think you're right on that one; 4x4 CPU's will use the same RAM as AM2 CPU's do. The "more expensive RAM" requirement is only for Opterons, which of course use registered ECC memory. In fact, if your chosen mainboard has memory banks for both CPU's, then you could even save a little since 4 smaller DIMMs tends to cost a little less right now than 2 bigger DIMMs.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Except that like socket 940 vs. 939, I expect all 1207 boards to require registered DIMMs. I don't know of any dual socket board that doesn't. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    The whole "catch" of 4x4 was that there are no ECC/Registered DIMMS required - at least that was the synopsis all the time. It should have very little to do with the socket itself, rather a matter of IMC, no?

    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    You're correct, 4x4 will use Socket-1207 CPUs but without Registered memory.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    I stand corrected, though I have to say I'm still not at all interested in getting a dual socket motherboard. LOL I guess 1207 CPUs will have to support both registered and unbuffered DIMMs? I can't imagine AMD trying to get people to make sure they get the right type of CPU for the RAM they're using.

    Second thought: could they have mobos and CPUs that will support both registered and unbuffered DIMMs? I think they have the same keying, so it's possible, right?
    Reply
  • smilingcrow - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Two dual-core 90nm 120W CPUs = No thank you.
    Two quad-core 65nm xW CPUs = interesting!
    Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    I'm personally a extremely heavy multi-tasker and I can't wait for quad to a hit a more managable price range. At the moment, they're just beyond my reach for a CPU alone. Once it hits around 300-500 then I would definitely buy one, but these right now are still for the rich and video encoders. Reply
  • AlabamaMan - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    I am still amazed by the fact that a $300 E6600 consistantly beats the $700 FX62 Reply
  • Aikouka - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    That fact, my friend, is why I'm purchasing an E6600 in this upcoming week :). Simply the best performance without overclocking for the buck. Reply

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