Late last year Intel unveiled the world’s first quad-core desktop processor, stealing a bit of thunder from the amazing Core 2 Duo range. For a whopping $999, the new Core 2 Extreme processor would become Intel's new flagship product.

Although the Core 2 Duo remained the best value choice for most desktop users, the technological achievement was nonetheless there as AMD had - and in a way still is - without a proper answer.

The new Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 processor we are testing today is the first Core 2 product to hit the magical 3.0GHz marker, and it is doing it not with two but rather four cores (dual 4MB L2 cache). Also new for the Core microarchitecture is a bumped up front side bus which has been taken to 333MHz QDR (Quad Data Rate – 1333MHz), whereas previous Core 2 processors all used a 1066MHz FSB.



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