Intel's first 45nm processor, the quad-core QX9650 for the desktop, saw its NDA restrictions lifted yesterday making way for a number of reviews out there. This 3.0GHz processor based on Intel's Penryn micro architecture is largely a die shrink of Intel's enormously successful 65nm Core 2 processors. However, it packs a few design tweaks and enhancements.

Performance-wise the main boost is given by an increase in L2 cache memory from the 8MB in current quad-core parts, up to a new total of 12MB - 6MB per pair of cores. In addition, the QX6950 features a 1333MHz front-side bus and 47 new SSE4 instructions aimed at tasks such as HD video acceleration and basic graphics operations. In terms of power consumption the new processor offers a much-reduced power draw, with some tests showing the QX9650 consuming about 60W less than its identically clocked 65nm predecessor, the QX6850.

The QX9650 will debut on November 12, but won't be joined by more mainstream parts until early 2008. While Intel has yet to disclose any pricing information, previously leaked information suggests the chip will debut around the $999 price point. You can read some Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 reviews at The Tech Report, PC Perspective and AnanTech.