HolidayBuyer's Guide

Intel's Core 2 Extreme chip gets extremer

Intel took the wraps off a new quad-core chip Monday, launching the Core 2 Exteme QX6800 processor at 2.93GHz.

That makes it the fastest edition of a Core microprocessor that Intel has cranked out for the desktop market--not counting the 3GHz Xeon that Apple is using in its workstation. All that power comes at a price, however: Expect to pay $1,199 just for the chip.

That's several hundred dollars more than the price of the average desktop PC. But the QX6800 is meant for gamers or video editors, people who need every last bit of performance they can get and don't mind paying for it. Those of us with lighter demands--and lighter wallets--will get long just fine with the Core 2 Duo, with the Core 2 Quad also available at $851 if you need performance but can't justify spending a thousand bucks just on a chip.