Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 review

Price when reviewed

Intel’s meteoric rise to dominance in the CPU market over the last two years – and the stunning value of its processors – is highlighted by none better than the Q6600. It’s based on the Core microarchitecture, the design responsible for catapulting Intel into first place in the performance stakes after the dark final few years of the Pentium 4.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 review

The Q6600 is a quad-core processor, however, and is able to do twice the simultaneous tasks of its dual-core brethren – it actually brings together two separate dual-core CPUs into one physical package.

It has an ample 8MB of L2 cache – not as much as the 12MB of the very latest Core 2 CPUs based on Intel’s 45nm process, but still more than enough to provide a fantastic turn of speed. And that’s even when the applications you’re running – games being a particular example – are only capable of taking advantage of one or two of the cores. That’s helped by the fact that the each pair of cores in the package has 4MB shared, so a single core can grab up to 4MB if it’s really required.

The Core 2 architecture and four cores don’t just give amazing performance: they’re frugal with power, too. The rated TDP (thermal design power) of the Q6600 may be a fairly hefty 105W, but in practice the raft of energy-saving measures such as Enhanced SpeedStep mean your processor heatsink will rarely even get warm.

The truly amazing thing about the Q6600 is the price. Just £131 will buy you a CPU based on what was the absolute bleeding edge of technology this time last year. And with more attention being paid by programmers to writing properly multithreaded applications, the four cores will stand you in good stead to make the most of new software for a long time to come.

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