There was a huge degree of hype surrounding the first Core 2 processors, and amazingly they lived up to that hype. The new quad-core versions are not so exciting and have not been as anticipated. As we have just seen, under the right conditions these quad-core processor can really clean up, but unlike the Core 2 Duo E6700 and X6800 for example, the QX6700 did not excel in all applications. Although the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 was fast, very fast, it was not much faster than the E6700 and X6800 in most tests.
The new quad-core versions are more focused on application performance - and potentially server oriented tasks - rather than gaming performance. However, that is okay given the performance benefits we have witnessed here today. When it came to measuring performance in powerful Windows-based applications such as Photoshop CS2, Pinnacle Studio Plus and 3D Studio Max, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 raced ahead of the pack, completing tasks in record times. Therefore, the QX6700 is more of a workstation processor. Given the $1000 price tag, this also suggests that Intel is targeting workstation computers more so than gaming rigs anyway.
It should be noted that while the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 will start at roughly $1000, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 is expected to make its debut at ~$800. The primary difference between these two processors will be the 266MHz clock frequency that favors the Core 2 Extreme. As we found when comparing the X6800 and E6700 however, there was very little difference in performance. We expect to see a very similar scenario with the QX6700 and Q6600, as we believe the Q6600 will only be marginally slower.
Unfortunately, given the short time frame we had to create this review and organize all the comparison systems, we were unable to include an AMD Athlon FX-62 system. This was disappointing as we would have really liked to have included this processor in the comparison. That said, we feel the Core 2 Duo E6700, Core 2 Extreme X6800, and Pentium D 950 systems will give readers a clear idea of where this new quad-core Intel processor stands.
Intel has done a fantastic job with their latest Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor and while it was not all gleaming results, the QX6700 did excel where it had to. The thermal output of the QX6700 was very manageable at its default frequency of 2.66GHz though considerably higher than an equally clocked Core 2 Duo processor. When it came time to overclocking however, it was not nearly as willing to play ball as the E6700 and X6800 were before. In fact, I was limited to just 3.33GHz which required water cooling. Compare this to the E6700 which reached 3.66GHz using an after market air cooler, and it becomes clear that the Kentsfield may not be the overclocker that the Conroe is.
Now that the Kentsfield architecture is here and we know what it has to offer, we must wait and see what AMD answers with. This will determine how quick Kentsfield-based processors become more affordable and which platform users will decide to go with. As of now, the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 looks to be the most powerful processor on the market for use with power hungry Windows apps. When it comes to gaming, the Core 2 Duo E6700 is a much better choice, or for value the E6600 or even the E6300.