Just when we were getting excited about the Core 2 Duo chips that have become standard in everything from the 24-inch iMac to new Dell laptops, we've now got quad-core fever. Yes, Intel already has the shown them off before, but Tom's Hardware has a very thorough investigation into the nature of these four-headed beasts -- what Tom's is dubbing the Core 2 Quadro. (Of course if this really is the name, Intel may have to chat with NVIDIA first, as it already uses the name Quadro in a set of graphics cards.) So how'd it turn out? Not surprisingly, video editing and rendering are everyday tasks that took advantage of all four cores: "Test results with the software packages Main Concept with H.264 encoding and the WMV-HD conversion make this very clear. We noticed performance jumps of up to 80% when compared to the Core 2 Duo at the same clock speed (2.66 GHz). A Core 2 Quadro at 2.66 GHz and higher is the answer for HD video (editing and rendering) at full HD resolution (1920x1080)." However, Tom's also noted also that the Core 2 Quadro requires 167 W of power in idle mode, which is the same amount that a Core 2 Extreme demands at full capacity, and attributes this to an "incomplete implementation of Intel's SpeedStep technology at this stage." That said, maybe once Intel reaches 32 cores (as it's said previously would be possible), the new chip name will be Core 2^5 Insanely Awesome.
[Thanks, Mack S.]