Today, Intel officially launched a new class of multi-core processors - the quad-core processor. Unlike earlier multi-core processors, these processors will feature four cores in a single package. This allows Intel to ramp up performance without increasing the clock speed.
We knew the processor by its codename of Kentsfield, but it is now officially known as the Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor. To differentiate it from its dual-core brethren, it will have a Q prefix to its model number.
The first member of this family is the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, clocked at 2.66 GHz which isn't particularly fast, since the Core 2 Extreme X6900 is already running at 3.2 GHz. This is the same clock speed as the Core 2 Duo E6700. Perhaps that's why both processors have the same model number of 6700.
The release of this quad-core processor is quite surprising actually. The Intel Core 2 Duo processors, which were launched not too long ago, are more than capable of achieving clock speeds of more than 4 GHz. With a little tweaking, even 5 GHz is possible.
Intel can easily release new speed grades for many more months to come. So, why release this quad-core processor so soon? Certainly, Intel does not need Kentsfield to pound AMD into the ground. The Core 2 Duo is already doing a good job of it.
Perhaps it's due to the fact that AMD intends to release their quad-core K8L processor soon. Being the first out with a quad-core certainly has its advantages. With this launch, Intel not only gains the right to brag about being the first out with a quad-core processor, they also show the world who is technologically-superior.
But is that really true? Designed as a true quad-core from the ground up, the AMD K8L makes the Kentsfield look like a slapdash job of bolting two Conroe cores together. Can the Kentsfield really match the K8L when it's finally released by AMD? Or will Intel deliver a stunning blow to AMD's plans by being the first to release a quad-core processor?
To answer that, let's take a look at the new Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core processor!
What Is A Kentsfield?
Kentsfield is the codename for Intel's first quad-core processor - the newly-released Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor, the first of which has the name of Core 2 Extreme QX6700.
Coming right behind Conroe and Allendale, the Kentsfield is the latest processor based on their Core microarchitecture. Other than the fact that the Kentsfield is a quad-core processor, all three processors are actually very similar.
The Allendale processors (Core 2 Duo E4300, E6400, E6400) have a smaller 2MB L2 cache while the Conroe processors (Core 2 Duo E6600, E6700 and Core 2 Extreme X6800) have 4MB L2 caches.
But other than that, they are similar to each other and the Kentsfield processor. We will see later just how similar the Allendales and Conroes are to the Kentsfield.
Even though they are similar, it's a little unfortunate that they chose to add the new quad-core processor to the Core 2 Extreme series of dual-core processors. Although the Core 2 Extreme processors are targeted at computing enthusiasts, this move will definitely confuse consumers, especially those who are not so tech-savvy.
We think the processor should have been called the Core 2 Quad or even the Core 2 Quad Extreme. Adding a single letter (Q) to designate a quad-core processor won't help Intel sell the quad-core concept to their consumers.