Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Reviewccokeman -
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As a comparison to the existing quad core Intel CPUs, there really is not much of a comparison. The Q9300 just barely performs better than the Q6600 in the comparison field of processors. In many ways, it is handicapped by the lower amount of L2 cache it is equipped with. The clock speed does not in all instances make up for this lack of cache. Don't get me wrong here, in many of the benchmarks the Q9300 was competitive, it just did not have enough to get it to that next level of performance. The processor would do all that it was required to do and did so without any stutters or lag. So the actual "feel" of the chip in operation was really no different than the Q6600 or Q9450. This is where the majority of users will have their experience with this chip. But is this feel worth about $85 dollars more than the bargain Q6600 at $184? Probably not. In the system based tests, the Q9300 performed better than the Q6600 in only 13 out of 35 tests, performed worse in 10 and performed equally in 12. Not really much of an improvement. The Q9450 and Q9770 each out performed it, so there was no real performance comparison there. In the gaming tests, the Q9300 lost slightly more than it won when compared directly with the Q6600 and Phenom. It outperformed them in 11 tests, lost 16 and equaled the performance in five. Not exactly stellar, but not a total loss either. This was most likely due to the higher bus speed on the CPU as well as the clock speed.
When overclocking the Q9300, I was stoked when it went to 450 x 7.5 FSB on stock volts (1.215). My excitement was short lived though, as I could only manage to reach 456 x 7.5 (3420MHz), the lowest overclock I have achieved on any of the quad core CPUs I have tested. Dropping the clock multiplier, increasing the volts, tweaking skew levels, nothing would get it stable any higher. However, at this point 1.31 volts were required for Prime 95 stability. The level of voltage required for the maximum overclock brought a little of the excitement back. Just like its faster brothers, this chip gets hot when the voltage is pushed. After three mounts with the CPU heatsink, temperatures at the 1.31 volt mark were in the low 60s Celsius. This could very well be just a warped heatspreader that needs some attention. If you want a 45nm quad core CPU but the price of the Q9450 and Q9550 are just out of reach, then this would be a good option to go with. Performance junkies might want to give this one a pass as 500+ FSB speeds will be needed to get to the promised land due to the low clock multiplier. If a 45nm quad is not a requirement, then the Q6600 is still a better value for your money.
- Low voltage for max overclock
- 6MB L2 cache
- Gets hot when overclocked