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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  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    What do you mean it is "a insanely round-about way of measuring power draw"? Can you come up with a better one that doesn't involve cutting tracks on mobos to read the current being passed through them? Or a method which would work equally well with very soon to be released G80 graphics-core which is reputed to dissipate rather a lot of heat (clamp the water-block on that G80 and we'll soon see how much heat it really puts out).

    If you can come up with a simpler and better method of determining the power usage of CPUs and other devices, feel free to divulge the details here because their current method of measuring at the AC power-outlet is woefully inadequate, and I think a water-block heat-transfer system is not only a simple but quite accurate way of measuring power use, but one that can be applied to both CPUs and GPUs.
    Reply
  • autoboy - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Wow, all you guys have really weird methods of measuring power draw. Nearly all the power for modern processors comes through the 12V Aux power connector. You can measure the current and voltage here and you will get the power consumption of the processor. However, the efficiency of the VRM can skew the results slightly. Reply
  • Gigahertz19 - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    quote:

    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).


    Ah I like the little hint on the transitor count for Nividia's G80 when they release next week. Can't wait till Nvidia's G80 is released and we get some benchies :)
    Reply
  • fikimiki - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Looking at pure encoding performance we can expect only 40-50% increase.
    It is very,very bad.
    Why don't you compare this CPU with Dual-Core Opteron platform?
    Without better cache management this CPU is only for benchmarks same as 4x4 it's with crazy pricing.
    Reply
  • defter - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Why don't you compare this CPU with Dual-Core Opteron platform?


    Why compare cheaper single-socket platform with more expensive dual-socket platform?

    quote:

    Without better cache management this CPU is only for benchmarks same as 4x4 it's with crazy pricing.


    Are you kidding? Kentsfield PC will be cheaper than 4x4 PC, if Kentsfield will achieve same level of performance, then it will have better price/performance ratio.
    Reply
  • lopri - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Damn.. I can't get over how gigantic those dice look together. Reply
  • msva124 - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Is the article fully uploaded yet? I got some 404s as I was reading through it. Reply
  • xFlankerx - Thursday, November 2, 2006 - link

    Fine for me now. NIce stuff too, as has come to be expected from AT. Reply
  • Chuske - Monday, December 25, 2017 - link

    I come from the FUTURE !! In very late 2017, beggining of 2018, quad core CPUs are still very much in use .. even QX6700 and people favourite Q6600 (10$ now) held pretty well, for 11 yo cpus .. Reply

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