Intel’s Core 2 “Quadro” Chips reviewed - Macenstein

Intel’s Core 2 “Quadro” Chips reviewed

Posted by Helper Monkey

Tom’s Hardware has managed to obtain an early sample of Intel’s new 4-core chip, the Core 2 “Quadro” (as thesite dubs them) Kentsfield. While the chip is not slated to ship until mid-late October, Tom’s Hardware was able to obtain an in-progress sample, and do some preliminary testing and has posted their results, comparing the Quadro to today’s top of the line Core 2 Duo chips.

Of note they found that the Quadro, while shipping at a maximum clock speed of 2.66 GHz, can be successfully overclocked to 3.33 GHz. The chip performed VERY well in the 3DMARK and PCMARK scores, setting record numbers in both tests. At 3.33 GHz, the Core Quadro posted a 3D Mark score of 7023 (vs. a Core 2 Duo E6700 Score of 6326), and a PC Mark score of 10,722 (vs. a Core D2 Duo E6700 score of 6871).

While these numbers are very impressive (especially for a chip that is not yet fully optimized), whether the average consumer will notice any difference is debatable. An application really needs to be designed for multi-core use to see this kind of leap in performance, and likely only HD video editors and graphics professionals will need this kind of power. Tom’s Hardware sees no real benefit for gamers at the moment using the Quadro.

What is NOT debatable is whether the average consumer will pay the $1000 per chip the Quadro is expected to cost. At that price point, it will be some time before we see a Quadro in a Mac mini. However, Mac Pro users may now have reason to kick themselves for being early adopters. I would never claim to be an expert on technical matters (and if wrong I fully expect to be called on it) but apparently these Quadro chips seem to fit in existing Core 2 Duo slots, meaning Apple could have these in new Mac Pros in time for Halloween.

Perhaps the greatest blessing/curse of the whole Intel-transition thing is the decreased time between updates Intel brings compared to the old IBM PowerPC revisions. In the PowerPC days, you could often justify a new PowerMac purchase even if the old models were 7 months old. Now it seems every 2-3 months Intel cranks out a faster chip.

So, will Apple have a Dual Quadro, 8-core monster come November?
Post your thoughts.

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