Intel's newest quad-core chip, by way of a new ABS desktop

First look at system performance with a new Intel quad-core chip

Keep in mind that the following benchmark results feature systems, not isolated CPU scores, and have a look at our test scores for the new ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite, which features Intel's newly announced 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6800 quad-core chip. It might not look like it at first, but the system actually did very well on our tests compared to other high-end desktops.

Intel's new Core 2 Extreme QX6800 gives quad-core chips a speed boost. CNET

The reason the ABS doesn't sit higher on our charts is because the other systems either a) have an older 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6700 overclocked to 3.2GHz, b) run less resource-intensive Windows XP (compared to Windows Vista, installed on the ABS), or c) both. That makes the ABS' category-leading iTunes score that much more impressive, although its 4GB of memory helps there as well. The ABS' gaming scores are also a bit behind because it has only a single GeForce 8800 GTX card where most of the other systems have two. But on those tests, the ABS looks great compared to the overclocked Gateway and its pair of ATI CrossFire cards.

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


Cinebench 9.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering a single CPU  


Quake 4 performance (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,600x1,200 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
Dell XPS 710 H2C
114.6 
114.3 
130.3 
Polywell Poly i680SLI (quad-core)
104 
122.8 
126 
ABS Ultimate X8 Stealth Extreme
99.4 
118.9 
120.7 
ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite
67.2 
96.5 
118 
Gateway FX530XT (Windows Vista)
35.7 
65 
76.7 


F.E.A.R. performance (fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,600x1,200 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
Dell XPS 710 H2C
103 
145.7 
156.7 
ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite
55.3 
84 
110 
Gateway FX530XT (Windows Vista)
49 
75.7 
92.7 

We know these results might not be the best comparison from a pure CPU performance perspective, but we don't generally pull out the CPU testing stops unless it's a major generational shift or we're doing a roundup. In the case of a simple clock bump, like this new chip, all we can really say is "yup, faster," assuming that it is. As long as the system results look right, which they do here, that feels like enough. And even though it might not be the most revolutionary technology shift, from a purchasing standpoint, the quad-core 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6800 now has the same core clock speed as the dual-core 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 (note the missing "Q"), which means that gamers and performance enthusiasts no longer need to choose between a chip with four cores or a dual-core model with the highest stock CPU speed. Just know that in order to buy just the chip itself, you can expect to shell out around $1,200.

ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite
Windows Vista Ultimate; 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drive

ABS Ultimate X8 Stealth Extreme
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.2GHz); 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; two 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

Dell XPS 710 H2C
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.2GHz); 4,096MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; two 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0); 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drive

Gateway FX530XT
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.2GHz); 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz (3,066MB reported); two 512MB ATI Radeon X1950 XT (CrossFire mode); two 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

Polywell Poly i680SLI (quad-core)
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; two 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

 

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