In today's news, Intel has released a new sibling of the 45nm family of Core 2 Quad processors: the Q9300 "Yorkfield" processor, which comes in at 2.5 GHz with a 1333 MHz front side bus.
The new chip breaks down like this: You get a faster front side bus, lower operating temperatures, and new SSE4.1 instruction sets. On the other hand, the L2 cache has been halved (6MB vs. the 12MB of higher-end quad-core CPUs). The gentlemen over at the End User blog, a new Amazon.com gadgets blog by its employees, report that testing proves that the smaller L2 cache still doesn't hold the Q9300 back from beating its predecessor, the 65nm 2.4 GHz Q6600.
That said, overclockers beware:
With a low multiplier (7.5), a solid overclocking motherboard will be required to reach a high FSB. Cooling is a whole other issue too, even with the Q9300's lower thermal design power (TDP) rating of 95w, cooling 4 cores is still nothing to sneeze at, and superior cooling will also need to be an investment.
Other outlets have put the Penryn processor through the paces: PureOverclock.com versus the AMD Phenom 9850, ExtremeTech versus the Phenom, and PCStats versus the latest computer games. In the end, I'm sure intrepid users will find a way to squeeze every ounce out of the chip.
The Q9300 retails for roughly $300, minus an Alexander Hamilton or two. (If you're more inclined to join Team AMD, check out fellow ZDNet.com blogger John Morris' breakdown of their triple-core offerings.)