Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Reviewccokeman -
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The performance of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 was better than the ol' familiar Q6600. This, of course, was the expectation going into the testing. In the scientific benchmarks, the Q9450 pulled out ahead in 20 out of 35 tests. While that does not seem like a world beater, 9 of the 35 tests were drive related and the expectation is that no change would happen. So taken as 20 out of 26 tests, this looks a bit better. In the gaming tests, it pulled ahead of the Q6600 in 25 of 36 tests. Surprising? No! The performance of the Q9450 in the gaming tests show that game performance falls for the most part between the old standby and the king of the hill, the QX9770. In some of the tests, the performance of Q9450 was on par with that of the QX9770.
Am I disappointed in the overclocking headroom available from this processor. Not in the least! With the insane speeds being offered up by the dual core variants, I was still searching for a bit more than the 3.7GHz I was able to pull from this quad core processor. But even though I was expecting more, a greater than 1 GHz overclock is nothing to laugh at. The clockspeed increase was also done with a relatively low 1.36 volts to the processor. Much less than I have needed with both my Q6600 and QX9770s to gain the maximum core speed. Temperatures were, for the most part, kept in check throughout the testing. 64 degrees Celsius under load was the highest temperature I saw on air cooling during my stability testing with Prime 95. With better cooling, could the max overclock be increased? Probably, but the vast majority of users will be on air, so that's where I spent my time testing.
As enthusiasts, many times we buy a lower end processor hoping for increased performance so that we do not have to spend big coin on the top rated processors. Of course, with the big bucks come a guarantee of processor speed whereas in overclocking your mileage may vary. What you have with the Q9450 when overclocked is performance that beats the QX9770 in all but a few instances. On this account the Q9450 is a success. Ultimately, it means top end performance for bottom line dollars (at least for a Quad Core). Priced at $379, it does cost more than the Q6600, but is a far cry from the $1400 of the QX9770. Again, on this point it is a success. But is the performance that much better than the Q6600 it replaces for that same price? It really depends on what you want to do. In the scientific testing, it sure was. In the gaming, it was not as much of an improvement as I would have hoped for. For almost $200 more (at this point), the price may be a bit steep to make a switch from the old to the new, but ultimately any performance increase for an enthusiast is an increase. The Q9450 performance scales well as the clockspeeds increase, so with that being said, quad core 45nm performance can be had without the "Extreme" dollars that were needed up till this point. The price/performance ratio is there. If you are in the market for a new quad to add to the stable or just looking for a performance boost, Intel's non "Extreme" 45nm quad core is out right now! Finally!
- 12MB of L2 Cache
- 45nm Process
- Overclocking Headroom
- Low Voltage Needed
- Reasonable Temperatures