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The Fastest Processor You Can't Run 236

auld_wyrm writes "Intel is trying to push the news of AMD's Barcelona launch out of the headlines with the release of the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770, a 3.20 GHz CPU that runs on a 1600 MHz front-side bus. It is the fastest consumer level processor that has come out, but don't plan on running it anytime soon. The ~$1200 price tag, and the lack of any motherboards that support a 1600MHz FSB will stop this unneeded answer to Barcelona from appearing in enthusiast's PCs for Christmas. Still, the benchmarks from this powerful CPU are something awesome to behold."
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The Fastest Processor You Can't Run

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  • by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:01PM (#21413219)
    Good thing technology is making big leaps as you are going to need this, a solid state 1 TB hard drive and around 20 gigs of RAM to make Windows 7 to run at even a Vista level!
    • I'm still waiting to hear Intel's response to AMD's latest SSE announcement, which to me sounds like a complete rewrite of the x86 instruction set.

      Anyone know anything about this?
      • I may have misunderstood, but I thought that AMD just added 4 extra instructions to form SSE4a, if that is the case what will most likely happen is that AMD and intel will cross license the instructions, and in the future all of the instructions will be available on both lines of processor. Well, perhaps not all of them, but certainly the ones that are useful will.

        More likely its just FUD to try and scare people away from the competition. From what I've read, the SSE4.1 isn't terribly useful either. Neither
      • I expect Intel to ignore it entirely. The SSE5 proposal rewrites quite a chunk of the instruction set and would require a complete redesign of the processor pipeline, and Intel's competitive position at the moment is such that there's no need for it to do the work; they will argue that, if you want that kind of vector processing, you should get one of their Larrabee vector processors.

        There is no particular guarantee that AMD will survive long enough actually to produce any processors using this planned SSE
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:19PM (#21413461) Homepage Journal

      Good thing technology is making big leaps as you are going to need this, a solid state 1 TB hard drive and around 20 gigs of RAM to make Windows 7 to run at even a Vista level!

      You know bloody well it'll take 24 GB of memory to actually run an office app!

      It'll also demand a 4GB videocard with a GPU strong enough to process all SETI requests ever in about 20 minutes

      • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @10:11PM (#21415617) Homepage
        Meanwhile, Linux keeps on getting faster and faster. I'm running Mandriva 2008, with Compiz Fusion on a Celeron 1.5 GHz, 512 MB RAM, Intel GMA, and it's faster than Vista without Aero. It's also faster than XP. I think that Linux will really take off if MS can't make their next OS consume less resources. When the choice for the average consumer becomes, spend $50 on a Linux computer, or spend $800 on a Windows computer, I think that most people will begin to switch. If things keep going the way they are, this is how the situation will become.
    • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:38PM (#21413663) Journal
      Hmm, don't rush out and buy it yet. This processor will only barely scrape the minimum system requirements for Windows 7 lower middle home basic word-processing and emailing edition. I'd wait for a little while longer.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @07:15PM (#21414073)
      Remember when there weren't any non-workstation dual core processors yet and MS was saying you'd need one for Longhorn/Vista?
      • It means:

        • More incentive for people to move off Windows, at least on low-end hardware. (It being "low-end" pretty much rules out OS X.)
        • Faster and cheaper processors that I can actually use, because I don't have to waste half a core on anti-virus and half a core on DRM, leaving me just as fast as I was with XP on one core.

        If Windows 7 does require 24 gigs of RAM and a 1 TB solid-state drive, I'll be loving my 12 gigs of RAM and 10 gigs of hard disks in a RAID for half the price. (Or something similar.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
          Hm... my $600 Mac Mini runs Leopard just fine and I fully expect it will run 10.6 as well. It's got as much processor power as the MBP I use routinely for heavy duty medical image processing development. The only thing it's lacking in, sort of, is 3D video performance, but it's more than enough to run all the eye candy in Leopard with some left over for a few image pro algorithms that run on the GPU.

          It doesn't spend a core running antivirus or even half a core running DRM.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      I don't want to sound like a sitck-in-the-mud, and I'm a bit drunk, but why is this moderated "insightful"? Vista is fine on my pc, and it's no fantastic piece of kit. But then I guess that's the booze talking.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Ox0065 ( 1085977 )
      but the 64bit drivers for the solid state disk will make it work at the speed of a USB stick until you install the manufacturer's drivers, until once a month (probably on a Tuesday :-), it'll go back to working like a USB stick.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Velcroman98 ( 542642 )
      I've been running Vista Business Edition now for 2 weeks on a Dell Optiplex 745 (E6700 chip) with 2GB RAM. Once I turned the User Account Control security crap off it's been a pleasure to use. Besides updates and new software installs I've only been forced to reboot once.

      It's not as bad as all the /. members say. Corporate business users aren't running Vista yet; because all of their applications need to be certified to run properly on Vista before they will support it. It's the third-party vendor support t
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:02PM (#21413235) Homepage
    How do you benchmark a processor when there are no motherboards that support it?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RailGunner ( 554645 ) * on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:04PM (#21413251) Journal
      There are motherboards that support it. Just not "production" motherboards.
      • Guess I don't need to be asking what the bogomips are.
        They would probably be so high I would not be able to comprehend it, or translate it into what sort of improvement the new processor would have over my current 700 bogomips setup.
        Would probably be overkill, since Firefox stalls anyway on some web pages with all sorts of extra advertisements, etc. that have to be fetched. Want to see, however, since a big, fast processor might just be what's needed to suck the required content out of all of the various se
        • Guess I don't need to be asking what the bogomips are.

          Coincidentally, I was wondering if it was fast enough to finish the infinite loops that Firefox kicks off in/with/involving X.

          (Yeah, yeah, I know it's *really* the Firefox add-ons or the naughty websites I go to... porn sites aren't a fair test of stability because they're shameful, and Firefox is a delicate flower that wilts in the presence of immorality, or poorly-written plugins. I'm just drunkly bashing my favorite browser. I abuse her because t

      • by julesh ( 229690 )
        So presumably this [] isn't a production motherboard?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SteWhite ( 212909 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:05PM (#21413267)
      It's worse than that even - the processor doesn't exist yet either!

      Intel had them overclock an existing Core 2 Quad Extreme to perform the "benchmarks".

      Check out the article on Toms Hardware Guide:,review-29749.html []
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:05PM (#21413275)
      You don't. You just issue a press release.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The board that the CPU was tested was either a pre-production model that Intel supplied for the tests, or was overclocked by the testers to run at the speed that the CPU FSB can support. Since no MBs officially support that FSB speed, I am guessing that Intel supplied the MB, but I have seen MBs run at at 1400 FSB even though it was not officially supported by the manufacturer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wavicle ( 181176 )
      How do you benchmark a processor when there are no motherboards that support it?

      Simple, you test it on a motherboard that supports it. "But wait," you say, "the article said no motherboard does." Yeah, they often get it wrong, welcome to slashdot. While Intel does not have a chipset that officially supports 1600MHz, there are X35 boards out there from manufacturers such as Asus and Gigabyte that have bumped the FSB frequency anyway. Somehow, even under load, the platform is stable.
  • benchmarks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:05PM (#21413263) Journal
    where are these benchmarks you speak of and why did they create this processor without a motherboard that is available for actual use?
    • I, fir one, welcome our new motherless overlords.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wilsonng ( 900790 )
      Well, if the speed limit is 65 mph, why do people make cars that can go 200 or 250 mph? why all the extra horsepower? If there are no speed limits on processor speed, I would expect the manufacturer to continually push the envelope. whether the 'rest' of us needs it is another question -- but there should be a good many who will need it and willing to pay a few extra hundred for it, I reckon. After all, why create computers with hundreds or thousands of processors running hundreds of teraflops?
    • by julesh ( 229690 )
      There is a motherboard [] available for actual use. TFA is talking bollocks.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:09PM (#21413333) Homepage Journal

    Reminds me of all that stuff I read for years in Pop Science and Pop Mechanics -- ultra cool stuff you'll never lay your hands on. Well, this will be available, but probably not for 6 months. Meanwhile, I'm not about to upgrade my mobo for it anyway. I work in Photoshop on an Athlon 64, the cheapest one available about a year ago, and it's still no issue of speed, memory is the problem, having enough of it. Need mobos which can hold 16 GB of memory, not faster CPUs.

    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:53PM (#21413859)
      Need mobos which can hold 16 GB of memory, not faster CPUs
      Then go buy one. NewEgg's motherboard search has 'max supported memory' as an option where there are 2 that support 16GB and 3 that support 32GB. And that's in the consumer grade motherboards. You've been able to get that kind of memory support in a server class motherboard, that really doesn't cost much more than a consumer one, for years and years now.
      • This reminds me of the AMD I just got - the mobo took 4 dimms up to 2G each, so a bog standard (Supermicro) board can run 8G ram. Had I been willing, any dual AMD board is capable of 16G, with DIMMs running about $140 each. The problem is that dual boards usually need EATX, which won't fit in mid towers, generally. Oh well, Dual core with 8G is still really nice.
    • 16GB of memory is possible on any dual-Xeon motherboard using eight 2GB FBDIMMs, and on most dual-Opteron motherboards using eight 2GB DDR modules, though some of the older, cheaper dual-Opteron boards only attached memory to one CPU. Some systems (the Sun X4150 server and X6250 blade, Supermicro's X7DWN+ board) have sixteen memory slots and support 4GB FBDIMMs, though those are horribly expensive - it's much cheaper to go from 16GB to 32GB by replacing the motherboard and processor and buying eight more 2G
  • Must be some boards (Score:3, Informative)

    by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:10PM (#21413343)
    Boxx has anounced machines using this chip so I'm guessing there are boards just the first run aren't available to the home builder.
  • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) * on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:10PM (#21413345)
    "...The Intel X48 chipset is a refresh of the X38 chipset aimed at the high end desktop market. It will be the first chipset to support 1600 MHz FSB parts (though current boards do as well in some cases) and will have unlocked bus ratios for improved overclocking ability. So there really isn't much change from the X38 chipset -- and in fact most X38 motherboards aimed at the enthusiast will probably support 1600 MHz FSB processors anyway. For my testing I used the Asus P5E3 Deluxe motherboard based on the X38 chipset to run the QX9770 and it ran without an issue.... []

    Sounds like many existing Intel X38 chipset mainboards will work with the QX9770, and I'd bet Intel's DX38BT can run it, (but probably at FSB 1,333MHz) []
    • by Traa ( 158207 )
      I just put together a new box using the Asus P5E3 Deluxe. Funny thing is that I considered that motherboard to be a decent high-end board, not state-of-the-art. It's affordable, fully featured and apparently capable of the next gen chips.

      Nothing dramatic, but surely the topic poster is incorrectly claiming that Intel is hyping a chip that can't be expected to work in the market.
  • This chip is pure E-peen for Intel, especially since nobody can fully take advantage of the ruttin' thing.
  • Or is Intel moving away from any sort of street cred they only started getting back with the Core 2 by seemingly flogging the Mhz myth again?

    Nerds know better and your typical "user" doesn't care. Make a quality chip and spending a shit ton on marketing buzzwords is unnecessary. Nerds will buy it and sell it on word of mouth. Done. Fire your marketing people.
    • by cnettel ( 836611 )
      If Anandtech didn't get a really bad chip, the power usage numbers are quite disappointing. On the other hand, for the same microarchitecture, there is no MHz myth. A quad-core Core 2 at 3.2 GHz will beat every other x86 CPU in existence. With a 1600 MHz FSB, there is even no reason to call it seriously unbalanced.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      So a 2GHz Core 2 Duo chip is no slower than a 3GHz Core 2 Duo chip? Is that what you're saying? :)
  • by coult ( 200316 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:19PM (#21413455)
    Outside of giant clusters, is anybody running Barcelona yet either? I have been unable to find any systems available for purchase. Word on the street is January before they are available in quantity to the general public.
  • That 1GHz doesn't?

  • Lonestar: It's Intel 1. Barf: They've gone to PLAID!
  • I seem to recall several "enthusiast" sites bragging about over-clocking the stock Intel Core-2s to 3.2GHz on air cooling, even higher with water or other, but I'm not an over-clocking expert.

    Can someone please explain how this is "better"? How big of an impact will the faster FSB have?
    Will it allow you to run memory at insane speeds, and is there even RAM available that can handle those speeds?
    • by jfinke ( 68409 )
      3.2GHz is a pretty minor overclock at this point. Most of Intel's line will hit that. When you get about 3.8, you are pushing it. I believe that there are people getting close to 3.8 on air cooling as well.
    • by argent ( 18001 )
      How big of an impact will the faster FSB have?

      Let's put it this way. If Freescale had shipped a G4 with a decent FSB a year earlier, Apple wouldn't have had an excuse to switch to Intel. Access to RAM is the real bottleneck these days.
  • Unavailable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:52PM (#21413853)
    Of course it is unavailable. It will be available when it hits the $999 price tag. Or is Intels highest desktop price susceptible to inflation as well? In that case, lets hope that they don't do a 20% increase every 2-3 years. It seems technically we are now at the P4 GHz range again, but now with well performing and full featured CPU's. Maybe we should call this a green paper launch.
  • you cannot actually use it, but if you could it would go VROOOOOMMMM!
  • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @07:24PM (#21414167)
    For instance The Asus Maximus Extreme [], or Abit carries one too.
  • and would be great in combo with a fast harddrive. Also intel really needs to start using NUMA like AMD does. However, there doesn't seem to be much point to running a cpu with that high of a clock rate. All you do is chew up power and make your equipment hot with cycles that aren't going to bes used.

    The core 2 duos are already pretty nice in terms of raw cpu speed, it is the rest of the system that could use a speedup.
  • by legoman666 ( 1098377 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @08:19PM (#21414733)
    Anandtech had a good insight about this release. I'll just quote it directly instead of trying to paraphrase:
    "Almost as soon as we had Phenom samples, Intel made the decision to sample a CPU requiring a FSB that wasn't officially supported by any chipset at the time. No, 1600MHz FSB support won't come until next year with the X48 chipset, but it didn't matter to Intel; we were getting chips now.

    Take a moment to understand the gravity of what I just said; Intel, the company that would hardly acknowledge overclocking, was now sampling a CPU that required overclocking to run at stock speeds. Even more telling is that Intel got the approval of upper management to sample these unreleased processors, requiring an unreleased chipset, in a matter of weeks. This is Intel we're talking about here, the larger of the two companies, the Titanic, performing maneuvers with the urgency of a speed boat.

    It's scary enough for AMD that Intel has the faster processor, but these days Intel is also the more agile company." []
    • by julesh ( 229690 )
      "Almost as soon as we had Phenom samples, Intel made the decision to sample a CPU requiring a FSB that wasn't officially supported by any chipset at the time. No, 1600MHz FSB support won't come until next year with the X48 chipset, but it didn't matter to Intel; we were getting chips now.

      Except everyone seems to have missed the fact that the X38 chipset, available now [], supports 1600MHz FSB.
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )
      FOr most people, there's a lot more to it than just speed, though. Speed is a big one, but price is also big, and so is product loyalty - though most people are hesitant to admit it. There are an awful lot of people who started buying AMD because they were cheaper (even if they were technically inferior in many/most/all respects), and have continued to do so for that very same reason. A change in relative status of price will not impact the decision making process of these people: AMD has a track record of
  • Jane and Joe user (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Monday November 19, 2007 @08:44PM (#21414933)
    Raw CPU speed is nice but when are we going to make the busses fatter. Most of the bottle necks are in the memory and hard drive subsystems. My Sun Ultra 2 for instance, it has two 64 bit 400 MHz processors, a 576 bit wide memory buss and a reasonably fast SCSI interface. Even though this thing is a dinosaur by todays standards it easily kept up with an old dual 1GHz PIII.

    Besides, just how much unwarranted computing performance does Jane and Joe user really need to surf the net, do e-mail, instant message, play music and do home office chores.

    • At $1200 for just the processor (according to the blurb) for now and likely no massive price drop in the future, I highly doubt it's marketed towards 'Jane and Joe User', at least for a reasonable approximation of time.
    • Ever hear of SUVs and how their profits propped up the moribund American car industry for half a decade? Ever hear about Ford or GM agonizing over the off-road performance of their Envoys and Expeditions?

      The biggest reason this chip left the lab is to be a flashy status symbol for rich gamers and to manipulate brand perceptions.
    • by julesh ( 229690 )
      Raw CPU speed is nice but when are we going to make the busses fatter. Most of the bottle necks are in the memory and hard drive subsystems.

      Did you actually, you know, read the article? The entire point here is that Intel have just released a chip that needs a faster bus to run. And, yeah, sure, a 576-bit wide memory interface is great, but it would be insanely expensive for a consumer-oriented system. I'd expect to see the first 256-bit wide consumer systems (requiring 4 DIMMs to be installed for peak p
  • Wonder where the professional level processors are.
  • by MojoKid ( 1002251 ) * on Monday November 19, 2007 @10:00PM (#21415511)
    FTA at []

    "Cinebench is perhaps our most favorite "quick and dirty" test for gauging how fast a new CPU core is. If you're looking for a general quick-take view of system performance and CPU power, Cinebench consistently gives results that we rely on here in our labs. In the multi-threaded version of our this test, the QX9770 is 63% faster than the Phenom 9700. And with only a 33% clock speed advantage over the new Phenom, obviously the new Intel core is significantly more efficient clock-for-clock with a higher IPC (instructions per clock cycle) throughput."

    "The fastest single processor for gaming from the AMD side of the house, generally speaking according to these two tests, is the Athlon 64 X2 6400+. Again, that's according to the game engines at work in Crysis and F.E.A.R. The fastest processor of Intel's offering is obviously the QX9770, which looks to be 6 - 8% faster than its 3GHz counterpart, the QX9650. In general though, the AMD systems are easily outperformed by the Intel-based setups, in some cases by a large margin."
  • wow (Score:2, Funny)

    by okmijnuhb ( 575581 )
    Still, the benchmarks from this powerful CPU are something awesome to behold.
    Does that mean it can run Vista?
  • Can't wait to run around the map grabbing quad on my new quad.

  • Now if Intel bumps up the performance on their value line, AMD is toast and Intel engineers can go back to resting on their laurels until another challenger steps up.

    Nothing for me here. If the system draws more than 60 watts, do not want.

  • Where are 6 GHz ONE core processors when you need it?
    3.2Ghz looks too 2002-ish.
  • Seriously, what's wrong with taggers? "hype", "vaporware", "advert" on an article about a new processor, this isn't the Slashdot that I know and love. Turn off tags, they're just another vector for trolling.

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