November 12, 2007 is the date.

The processor? Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX9650.

The core? Penryn, 45nm, quad-core - Yorkfield if you want to get codename specific.

Over 800 million transistors, mostly used to create 12MB of L2 cache split among two die, this chip is truly a marvel and of course Intel had it at IDF.

One of many X38 systems equipped with a 3.0GHz Yorkfield Penryn at IDF

There was no hiding Penryn at this year's IDF; it was in all of the demo machines, it was talked about in great detail during the technical sessions and of course, Intel let us benchmark it. As always, Intel's benchmarks were under controlled circumstances; while we ran the tests ourselves Intel already knew the outcome.

We've already previewed the dual-core version of Penryn, codename Wolfdale. The clock-for-clock performance improvement isn't bad, as we're looking at a range of 5 - 10% increase in performance over Conroe.

Intel had a couple of notebooks setup, featuring mobile-Penryn vs. Merom. Intel let us run a couple of SSE4 benchmarks, both video encoding specific, to showcase some of the best case scenario performance improvements you can expect to see in notebooks.

The notebooks, identical Dells with different CPUs, Penryn left, Merom right

The two systems were configured as follows:

Laptop System Configuration
Penryn System Merom System
CPU 2.80GHz, 800MHz FSB
6MB L2, dual-core
Core 2 Duo T7800, 2.60GHz, 800MHz FSB
4MB L2, dual-core
System Dell Latitude D830 Dell Latitude D830
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 Intel GMA X3100
Graphics Driver Intel Intel
Memory 2 x 1GB Hynix DDR2-667 2 x 1GB Hynix DDR2-667
Hard Drive Fujitsu MHW2080BH
80GB 5400RPM
Fujitsu MHW2080BH
80GB 5400RPM
OS Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit

And the results:

Laptop Performance Results
Penryn System Merom System
TMPGEnc 4.0 Express Beta
(seconds, lower is better)
151 239
DivX 6.6.1 w/ VirtualDub 1.7.2
(seconds, lower is better)
20.5 38.9

Since both benchmarks take advantage of SSE4, the Penryn performance improvement is significant. We'd expect overall performance improvement to be closer to what we saw in our Wolfdale preview. The power savings courtesy of Intel's 45nm process will be particularly important in notebooks as it directly impacts battery life, so we should see an added benefit of Penryn there. Do keep in mind that mobile-Penryn won't hit until next year, while the desktop Core 2 Extreme QX9650 will be available starting November 12.

Intel's 8-core SkullTrail System
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  • Beenthere - Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - link

    Intel keeps releasing engineering samples and tech info. to the media because they are running scared. AMD is once again delivering the best of breed and Intel is in for one Helleva beating to come now that Barcelona is available and ramping in clockspeed. The shitze is about to hit the fan!
  • Zak - Monday, September 24, 2007 - link

    I've just built a new gaming rig last week: the new 3GHz Core2Duo (@3.8GHz with Tuniq cooler) and 8800GTX (slightly o/clocked) with 3GB of 800MHZ RAM, 600W PS, the whole thing sans case and HD, which I already had, was just under $1,200 and I get over 12000 points in 3DMark and 100% stable with few 12cm fans and CM Stacker case. So with a decent case and a couple of HDs it'd be around $1,500. I can imagine I can build a system for $3000 that will get close to 17000 points. WTF?

    There is no reason to even consider this monstrosity unless you have a really small penis...

  • Amiteriver - Sunday, September 23, 2007 - link

    Ran a quick FM06 at 3467 (13x)on a qx6700 with 2 GTX SLI and got 17,425 pts overall with nothing tweeked. G Kind of thinking in this bench mark - wheres the beef.
  • vgermax - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    Why are the TMPGEnc scores listed as 151 and 239 for both comparisons? It seems a might coincidence if a different encoded file would result in identical scores in comparing Penryn/Merom and Skulltrail/Penryn. Either that or the mobile Penryn is as fast as Skulltrail, with the desktop Penryn being the same speed as Merom, which doesn't seem plausible.
  • tayhimself - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    What the f**k???????????///////slash

  • smilingcrow - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    “TMPGEnc 4.0 Express Beta (seconds)
    151 239

    while there's a 26% reduction in encoding time in TMPGEnc.”

    The reduction is 88 seconds which equates to a ~37% reduction, or you could say that the single CPU system takes ~58% longer.
  • joex444 - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    Yea, they suck.
  • mcnabney - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    About a 40% increase in gaming performance by adding a second top-end video card and doubling the number of CPUs that also happen to run at a higher speed. A good bit better, yes, but the performance hardly scales with the amount of hardware.
  • retrospooty - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    Its not really a gaming system. There games are now being coded to use 2 cores, and a few that do 4 cores, but nothing uses 8. 8 is for special use niche apps at this point.
  • mcnabney - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    Yes, they cleverly disguised a plainjane workstation by covering it with skulls and loading two $700 gaming video cards into it...

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