With all this jabber about quad-core being "on the horizon," it's mighty refreshing to finally see one of these highly-touted chips in the wild and on the chopping block. The lucky folks over at TechSpot were able to get their paws on Intel's first officially released quad-core processor, the 2.66GHz (not to mention the dual 4MB L2 cache and 1,066MHz FSB) Core 2 Extreme QX6700. Reviewers noted that there were "no new additions" technology-wise in this Kentsfield architecture, and that it was "merely a quad-core version of the Conroe," but stopped to exaggerate that this was far from being a "bad thing." Benchmarking the new kid on the block was a mixed bag, as it scorched dual-core alternatives in SiSoft testing, lagged behind in 3DMark, and provided just marginal gains in "real world gaming" scenarios. However, video editors and graphics designers should appreciate the "25 percent" increase in Photoshop CS2 processing, "78 percent" boost in Pinnacle rendering speed, and the "60 percent" jump in 3D Studio Max. It should also be noted that the thermal output of the chip was "very manageable" at factory speeds, but even water-cooling would only allow 3.33GHz due to its finicky nature. Overall, it was stated that Intel's quad-core offerings will not likely live up to the performance gains seen in the Core 2 Duo rollout, and while gamers should probably save their $1,000 for other necessary upgrades, those tired of seeing an immeasurably long rendering bar might want to give this bad boy a once over.

[Thanks, Ryan]

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Intel's quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor released, reviewed