Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850
- 1333MHz FSB, 3GHz clock speed, Performed well at up to 3.6GHz in our tests
- May not work in some current Intel 965 chipset-based motherboards
It's bound to be expensive, but users who are out to build the fastest rig on the block will appreciate the extra speed
Motherboard vendors have been touting 1333MHz front side bus (FSB) support for their latest motherboards in preparation for Intel's new line of CPUs and, finally, a CPU that can run at this speed has been introduced. Users running a motherboard with an Intel 3-series chipset (such as the P35) or a board with an NVIDIA nForce 680i chipset, will be able to plug in the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 quad-core CPU, which has a 1333MHz front side bus (FSB) and a 3GHz clock speed.
The 3GHz clock speed is currently the fastest in the Core 2 range with the previous fastest being Intel's 2.93GHz QX6800. Until now the most a Core 2 CPU could offer was a 1066MHz front side bus. The QX6850, on the other hand, is made with DDR3-based motherboards in mind, and only motherboards running DDR3 1333MHz RAM will be able to realise the full potential of the new CPU. However, the Qx6850 will also run with slower DDR3 memory -- 1200MHz and 1066MHz, for example.
DDR2 isn't entirely out of the frame just yet, however, and many boards that have chipsets capable running the QX6850 also come with DDR2 slots. Intel says that users with P965-based motherboards will not be able to run CPUs with a 1333MHz FSB speed because the 965 chipset isn't validated to run at that speed. Users with P965-based boards should check their vendor's Web site to make sure though, as some motherboards based on the P965 chipset can indeed handle the QX6850.
The QX6580 is a 65 nanometre product, so it shares similar thermal characteristics with the other Core 2 products that are available, and it's a quad-core CPU, so it's perfectly suited to severe multitasking and running multithreaded applications. Indeed, only extreme users will be able to maximum out this Extreme CPU; it's one that should definitely be considered for a video editing machine or a high-end gaming rig.
Testing with a Gigabyte P35 chipset-based motherboard (the P35T-DQ6) and 2GB of Samsung DDR3 memory, the QX6850 showed good speed in our benchmarks and it was reliable all throughout our testing phase. With our DDR3 memory running at 1333MHz and the QX6850 at 3GHz, WorldBench 6 scored a nifty 117, which this three points more than it scored when the memory was set to 1066MHz. The two applications that benefited from the extra memory bandwidth were WinZip and Firefox, but only slight differences were evident in the media encoding tests. This was also reflected in our Cdex and iTunes encoding tasks, where the extra memory bandwidth had no effect. At 3GHz, the QX6850 was able to compress 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files in just 1min 29sec using Cdex, and it compressed those same WAV files to 56Kbps MP3 files in just 39sec using iTunes.
Using the standard Intel cooler, we were able to reliably overclock the QX6850 to 3.6GHz, where it recorded the fastest WorldBench 6 score we've seen thus far -- 128. The extra speed cut down the time it took to encode MP3s in Cdex by 15sec and in iTunes by 8sec. We overclocked the CPU by changing its clock multiplier, which is unlocked (only Intel Extreme CPUs are unlocked). Users with more advanced CPU cooling and stable memory sticks may also be able to run a faster FSB speed than 1333MHz and reach greater clock frequencies.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P30 Pro review: A photography powerhouse that leans into and elevates its natural strengths
- 2 Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- 3 Nokia 8.1 review: The more things change, the more they stay the same
- 4 Huawei Watch GT review: Battery life isn't everything
- 5 Oppo AX7 review: New looks, same old budget buy
Latest News Articles
- Dirac makes PC market debut
- Turtle Beach acquires Roccat
- MSI give the AMD Radeon VII a launch day price
- The CES Files: Brydge Chrome Desktop
- The CES Files: Nemieo Keyboard
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Huawei P30 Pro: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic Lumix S1 review
- Want to play Apex Legends?
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?