Dual-core CPUs have been all the rage for the last six months, but now quad-core has arrived in the form of the Intel QX6700. To see what the addition of two additional CPU cores brings to the table, we’ve put the QX6700 through its paces courtesy of a deliciously fast PC from ABS.
As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions as to what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.
ABS has received three evaluations from [H] Consumer, and all have gone quite well for the company. The company is one of the more successful Tier 2 vendors and has been in business since 1990. In 2001, it created the popular E-tailer Newegg.com. Albert Wang, head of ABS, was one of our respondents in our recent OEM Executives interview.
We’ve seen several previews in the [H] Consumer office, most of which have been laptops or otherwise mobile-oriented solutions. It started with the IBM/Lenovo T60 ThinkPad, which initiated our Core Duo coverage. We then were able to take a look at the ASUS Z96J DIY Kit and discuss the emergence of mobile DIY kits while we went through the construction of a laptop. Our most recent preview was for the new mobile Core 2 Duo processor, Merom, and was provided by Velocity Micro’s L80 gaming laptop.
Our first desktop preview combines the exciting power of the new Core 2 Quad quad-core processor technology and ATI’s best graphics cards in Crossfire. ABS pulled out all of the stops to send us the most beastly system they could construct. Let’s see what we can look forward to in the next generation of computing power.
Since this system won’t be receiving any scores, we’ll be focusing on what the extra two cores (compared to a dual-core CPU) bring to the table, if anything. Since most of today’s games and applications are single-threaded (i.e., they can only interface with one CPU core), they are not able to take advantage of multiple CPU cores, so quad-core technology may not have realized its full potential in the current landscape.
Still, the allure of four CPU cores is easy to understand. You could theoretically be simultaneously folding on two cores while playing a game and encoding video on the others. A quad-core CPU clearly has tremendous multi-tasking potential. We plan to put that potential to the test in our usual gamut of real-world testing to see what kind of impact quad-core will make.
The folks over at [H] Enthusiast recently published their own preview of the QX6700 and put it through their gauntlet of testing. We hope to give you a different perspective on this new technology by putting it in the context of an OEM system from one of the better integrators in the business.
Here’s what we got: