Core 2 Extreme QX950 Up Close
Introducing Yorkfield: the first 45-nm Penryn Core 2 CPU
Intel’s first Penryn variant on the desktop will be the quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX9650, previously referred to by its codename “Yorkfield”, which will be officially branded as the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 when it’s sold in a matter of weeks on November 12th. With its large, 12MB L2 cache the chip contains 820 million transistors and runs at 3.0GHz. Early next year Intel will roll out their dual-core equivalent to Yorkfield codenamed “Wolfdale”.
Like Intel’s current quad-core processors, Yorkfield essentially consists of two dual-core Wolfdale processors which have been grafted together onto the same package and linked together by the FSB. Unfortunately we don’t have a picture of Penryn without its head spreader attached, but this photo of Intel’s quad-core Kentsfield core from last year illustrates how the two CPU dies are situated nicely:
With the heat spreader in place, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 looks just like any other Core 2 CPU:
Here are the specs on the Core 2 Extreme QX9650:
3.0GHz clock speed with four processing cores (quad-core)
12MB L2 cache (2x6MB)
45nm high-K metal gate transistor technology
214mm2 die size, 820M transistors
130W Thermal Design Power, C-Stepping
Overspeed protection (clock multiplier) removed
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST)
Intel 64 Technology
Intel Virtualization Technology (VT)
Supports Execute Disable Bit (XD)
LGA-775 socket interface
In order to run a Penryn processor you’ll need a motherboard based on the P35 or X38 chipsets from Intel; NVIDIA’s nForce 680i SLI chipsets are also 100% compatible with Penryn.
If you’re running a P35 or nForce 680i SLI motherboard you will need to update the BIOS on your motherboard to the latest version. In the past few weeks most motherboard manufacturers with nForce 680i and P35 motherboards have quietly released new BIOS revisions with proper support for Penryn CPUs. It also wouldn’t hurt for X38 owners to ensure that their motherboard’s BIOS supports Penryn as well.
Once your BIOS is flashed and set properly, you should be good to go.
In terms of cooling, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 operates much cooler than its predecessor, the Core 2 Extreme QX6850. In our testing the QX9650 hits anywhere from 25-29 degrees Celsius at load depending on the application you’re running. Running those same apps with our Scythe Ninja cooler and Arctic Silver 5 the QX6850 temps ranged between 40-45 degrees Celsius.
Even when overclocked, the QX9650 ran cooler than the 65-nm QX6850 CPU running at stock speeds!
Overclocking is one “feature” previous Core 2 CPUs have excelled at; our CPU Overclocking Database is filled with entries from FiringSquad readers who have managed to overclock their CPU to speeds of 50% or more with no problems!
With its 45-nm manufacturing process, we were eager to see how far we could push our Core 2 Extreme QX9650. Fortunately it didn’t disappoint us. Check out the following screenshot:
Keep in mind we accomplished this speed with the aforementioned Scythe Ninja CPU cooler and we’re running in an open air environment outside the case. We’ve included full benchmarks at 4.1GHz later in this review…