In an attempt to tighten the screws on AMD, Intel is continuing to roll out new midrange processors early next week. Despite the fact that they aren’t officially released yet, online e-tailers are already taking orders. The CPU’s will be based on Intel’s 45-nanometer process and both Alienware & Falcon Northwest are preparing to announce systems featuring the new parts in tandem with its release. The 95 watt Q9650 currently retails for $559 on Newegg, and features a core clock speed of 3 GHz. This paired with a 12MB L2-cache, and a 1333MHz front side bus make it a solid performer for the price. In fact, this puts midrange consumers within striking distance of the Dream Machine's 150 watt QX9775 which retails for a much heftier $1550. The QX9775 runs only 200MHz faster with the same 12MB’s of L2-cache.The main difference between the two is the 1600 MHz FSB, Skulltrail support, and the subsequent overclocking potential that comes with the extreme series. Looking for something more modest? The Q9400 is rated for 2.66 GHz and will feature 6 MB of L2-cache on a 1333MHz FSB. For those who prefer the dual core design, the Core 2 Duo’s lineup will be receiving an update as well. The new E8600 clocks in at 3.33GHz,with6 MB of L2-cache and a FSB of 1,333MHz, while the lower end E7300 will sport a 2.66GHz clock with 3 MB of L2-cache, and a 1066MHz FSB. The 65 Watt E8600 is e-tailing for $279 and the E7300 will go for $144.
Consider this month’s batch of case reviews to be a second chance of sorts, as both companies highlighted this month have previously built total clunkers. Cooler Master threw down the iTower 930 in February, which was the functional equivalent of bringing a wiffle bat to a gunfight. And NZXT troubled us with the Adamas—which sported a relatively mediocre design when stacked up against its competitors.