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Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 & Q9450 in the test: The Ferrari among CPUs

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 & Q9450 in the test: The Ferrari among CPUs

The X48 chipset

A frontside bus of effectively 1600 MHz and a TDP of 136 watts? Possible without problems on current boards? Unfortunately not, and so the QX9770 faces the first big hurdle in terms of chipset supportinto the house. Officially, the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 only runs on Intel's upcoming 'X48' chipset. But to this day, the features of the X48 only haunted early revisions as a blurry image. Some slides from Intel that we were able to get hold of, however, reveal the essential details.

Intel X48
X48
X48

From a technical point of view, the need for a new mainboard is not at all in the higher frontside bus, but rather the fact that mainboards with the previous P35 and X38 chipsets are officially only for a processor TDP of 130 Watts are designed. Since the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 is the first processor with a TDP of 136 watts, the X48 is the first to receive the official seal of approval from Intel. Nonetheless, even Intel recommended using an X38 mainboard and 'overclocking' it for our test of the processor. However, this is done at your own risk and the guarantee is void. FSB1600 works on X38, but will not get a blessing from Intel for security reasons.

Exceptions like Asus and Gigabyte, who have already approved their X38 premium boards for DDR3-1600 and FSB1600 (and thus for the new CPU and its TDP), fortunately confirm the rule once again. In both cases, the paying customer gets the full guarantee if he uses his mainboard with FSB1600 with suitable memory.

As the third of the slides shows, the performance gain of an X48 board should also bethe matching Core 2 Extreme QX9770 is a maximum of seven percent compared to the QX9650 with the appropriate memory configuration. Storage benchmarks are of course excluded from this, as they benefit a lot from the increased frontside bus. Compared to the old warhorse X6800 based on the 'Kentsfield', the performance gain should even be up to 30 percent.

Finally, we have compiled the table of the new Intel chipsets and listed the processors whose support is fully guaranteed , or was officially denied. As already mentioned several times, the final specification of the mainboards with the corresponding chipsets lies solely with the board partners, which is why the list should rather be understood as an 'official Intel set of rules'.

Intel X48 P45 G45 Q4x X38 P35 G35 Q35 G33 Q33 P31 G31 Code name Eaglelake family Bearlake family CPU support C2E QX9770 Yes No No No No No No No No No No No C2E QX9650 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No. No No No No C2Q Q9550 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes? ? C2Q Q9450 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes? ? C2Q Q9300 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes? ? C2D E8500 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes YesYes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes C2D E8400 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes C2D E8200 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes FSB support FSB 1600 Yes? ? ? No No No No No No No No FSB 1333 Yes? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No FSB 1066 Yes? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes FSB 800 Yes? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes RAM support DDR3-1600 Yes? ? ? No No No No No No No No DDR3-1333 Yes? ? ? Yes No No No No No No No DDR3-1066 Yes? ? ? Yes Yes No No Yes No No No DDR3-800 Yes? ? ? Yes Yes No No Yes No No No DDR2-800 No? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes DDR2-667 No? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Features Graphics - -? ? - - GMA X3500 GMA 3100 GMA 3100 GMA 3100 - GMA 3100 PCIe 2.0 Yes? ? ? Yes No No No No No No No PCIe 1.1 Yes? ? ? Yes No No No No No No No *? = not yet decided

On the next page: Test system

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