If you're building from scratch, chances are you've been eyeballing Intel's newly minted Core i7 platform (as you should be). But the decision isn't so cut and dry when your budget doesn't allow for a new motherboard and kit of triple channel RAM. For those of you sitting pretty on an LGA 775 platform and in need of a processor upgrade, Intel has announced a handful of price cuts affecting its Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, Pentium Dual Core, Celeron, and Xeon chips, as well as announced several new lower wattage Core 2 Quads, which drop the TDP from 95W to 65W.
Among those with the new lower TDP rating are the Q9650 (3.0GHz, 12MB), Q9550 (2.83GHz, 12MB), and Q8200 (2.33GHz, 4MB). However, these new revisions won't come cheap, commanding an $82, $107, and $103 premium respectively over their 95W counterparts with newly lowered prices.
New processor models include the E7500 (2.93GHz, 3MB, 1066MH) and E5400 (2.80GHz, 2MB, 800MHz), priced at $133 and $84 respectively in thousand-unit trays.
Intel has released a new mainstream Core 2 Quad processor in the Q8300. The new 45nm chip comes clocked at 2.5GHz on a 1333MHz front side bus just like the Q9300, but with 4MB of L2 cache instead of 6MB. Look for the chip to sell for around $224.
The new CPU will also likely mark the end of the line for Intel's Core 2 Quad lineup, at least for the immediate future. Of course, Intel will continue to make quad-core processors, just not for the suddenly defunct Core 2 platform. Instead, the company appears to moving all of its efforts to Core i7 and, as Stanley Huang, director of marketing and technical services of Intel's Asia Pacific division said in a statement, boosting Centrino 2's penetration rate.
Huang also reaffirmed that the company's Calpella platform is on schedule despite rumors that it might be delayed for a 2010 launch.
For a long while, Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor remained a popular choice in the DIY community. The 2.4GHz chip, helped in part by an aggressive round of price-cuts, brought quad-core computing to the mainstream. It became even more popular when Intel released the G0 stepping, which ushered in lower temps and higher overclocking potential.
But there's no looking in the rear-view mirror for Intel, and with the chip maker's Core i7 stepping into the limelight, it's come time to retire the aging 65nm Q6600. Citing un-named sources at PC vendors, DigiTimes reports that Intel plans to phase out the vintage quad-core chip in Q1 2009 by issuing a product discontinuance notice.
The Q6600's impending end-of-life could come as good news to those in need of a quad-core upgrade while remaining fiscally responsible. In all likelihood, vendors will again cut the Q6600's price as they look to clear out inventory before the end of the year. Stocking stuffer, perhaps?