CNET reviews new Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core processor, finds Mac Pro Quad Xeon faster

“Barely wrapped your brain around dual-core processors? It only gets worse from here, folks. Welcome to quad core, by way of Intel’s Core 2 Extreme QX6700. Don’t let the “Core 2″ fool you (great job, Intel Product Naming department), this new chip has four physical processing cores in it that make it a multitasking beast,” Rich Brown writes for CNET.

Brown writes, “Apple’s Mac Pro, however, presents a different story. Our Apple test bed (a different system than the one we reviewed back in August) has two dual-core Xeon 5160 chips, each running at 3.0GHz. That makes its raw CPU speed faster than that of the Core 2 Extreme QX6700. On some of our apps–iTunes and Photoshop in particular–differences between running the programs on Windows XP and Apple OS X likely impact performance, but it’s worth noting that even with a slower hard drive, the Mac Pro outpaced the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 chip on a number of tests, likely due to its clock speed advantage.”

The good: Major leap in performance on multitasking and most multithreaded applications compared to high-end dual-core CPUs; lots of apparent headroom for overclocking an already fast chip.

The bad: High price tag makes quad-core processing an elite technology for now; Apple’s twin dual-core Xeons in the Mac Pro make for a faster digital design configuration.

The bottom line: If you thought dual cores were over the top, get ready. Intel presents the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, a single CPU with four distinct processing cores. At $999, the first quad-core CPU will remain an enthusiast part for a while, but as a glimpse of the future, it’s clear that clock speed is out and core counts are in.

Full review here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
RUMOR: Apple prepping monster eight-core Xeon ‘Clovertown’ Mac Pro – October 26, 2006
AnandTech upgrades and tests Octo-Core ‘Clovertown’ Apple Mac Pro – September 13, 2006
Intel reveals first glimpse of quad-core ‘Clovertown’ chip coming later this year – February 11, 2006

29 Comments

  1. I view reviews like that as a bit premature. How CNet can make a decent comparison of the two CPUs when the new Core 2 quad core is not yet on any hardware system that I know of is beyond me. Add to that the likelihood that a version of OS-X or that other operating system have been optimized to take advantage of the bandwidth this new CPU offers, and you end up with a comparison that may not reflect the true capabilities of the Core 2.

    I’d say the CNet writer is suffering from a case of premature rejection…

  2. With Intel working with Apple perhaps Intel should look at the naming scheme used with Macs. Most consumers are totally clueless about technology and putting in all these different processor names makes things even more difficult for them. Now throw AMD processors into the mix and they don’t know what to think. I know they dropped the P name but customers could grasp the the P3 was better than the P2. I have a hard time trying figure out which is better core, core duo, core 2, core 2 duo, centrino duo, P4, P4 with HT(whatever HT is), and that doesn’t even count processors from other companies. If they were smart they would provide a naming scheme that makes it easier for consumers to choose which is right for them. Marketing is everything as there is so much information overload.

  3. The core-blitz is on.

    Macs were early in the race to get multi-core systems (OK, dual single-core systems – still two cores) to consumers. And early with quad-core systems – 2×2=4. Fact is, there isn’t much software out there for the consumer that benefits greatly from a system with more than two cores … except that such a system can get the ‘overhead processing’ – Classic, Rosetta, OSX – out of the way of the main app.

    Apple will likely be among the first to offer dual quads in a ‘consumer’ system. By then there should be software configured to benefit from as many as four cores. Even if all we’re talking about are Final Cut and Logic. There’s no rush. It’s mainly about bragging rights, isn’t it? “My computer is more over-powered than yours is … nyah, nyah!“. Gamers will still gravitate towards higher clock rates – until games get optimized to benefit from multiple cores. There aren’t enough multi-core systems out there – yet – for them to bother … and most of them are Macs (that may change by the end of the month).

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