Well, what can be said other than "Wow!"
Intel's Core 2 road train has just added another engine to the haulage and this one is stronger than its replacement, which is very good to see. We have been expecting flops from Intel when it comes to their upgraded CPUs. While Willamette to Northwood was an upgrade, Prescott was a downgrade from Northwood and Prestler was even more of a downgrade.
Core 2 has been the final turn-around and things are getting better, Intel is not going for the 'pure clock speed is better' advantage which cost them so much on Netburst, rather they're adding new features to the CPU. The X9650 doesn't run a higher clock speed than our X6850, the same 3GHz clock is used. However, the new SSE4.1 instructions combined with the new ALU dividers and the larger cache size has increased performance while reducing the CPU die size and thus reducing power requirements for the CPU.
Overall, if you're going to upgrade to Core 2, wait a month or two for the Wolfdale dual core series to come out as these will use the same 45nm process, support SSE 4.1 and the new ALU dividers. For the extreme users the QX9650 with quad core setup is the go, it's a definite win when it comes to the multimedia side of the coin.
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