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Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300

By Leo Waldock


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Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300


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We tested the processors using the Biostar TPower I45 we just looked at, as it happened to be on the test bench. You need to handle the figures with a modicum of care as we have been giving the WD 300GB VelociRaptor a work-out so the hard drive figures in PCMark05 are higher than you might expect. The other point worth mentioning is the issue of memory speed that came up in the Biostar review as the thing is incapable of running memory at a speed of 1,066MHz so we had to leave it on 800MHz.

Provided you take the figures in this review in isolation things will be fine but if you use either of these processors on your own P45 motherboard you’ll likely find you get better memory performance while your hard drive will be slower.

At idle the Q9300 system draws 20W less than the Q6600 and that’s despite the fact that we expected Intel’s SpeedStep power saving technology would have a greater effect on the Q6600 than the Q9300. In both cases SpeedStep drops the multiplier to 6x so the Q6600 slows from 9x266MHz=2.4GHz to 6x266MHz=1.6GHz while the Q9300 slows from 7.5x333MHz to 6x333MHz for a speed of 2GHz.

When the processors were working flat out in POV-Ray the Q9300 had an edge but it was almost entirely due to the extra 100MHz of clock speed and it was the same story in PCMark05. If you have no plans to overclock your processor then you’ll see no extra performance with a change from Kentsfield to Yorkfield but the difference in power consumption is startling as the faster Q9300 draws 40W less than the Q6600 when the systems run POV-Ray.

When it comes to overclocking the two processors behave quite differently. The Q9300 will run a front side bus of 430MHz which is almost exactly 100MHz more than the stock speed of 333MHz. The multiplier has to be dropped from 7.5x to 7x but we had no need to tinker with the Voltage settings for the chipset and processor. When we tried to push the front side bus to 450MHz we found that extra power made no difference and the speed remained stubbornly fixed at 3.01GHz.

It was a different story with the Q6600 which also tolerated a front side bus increase in the order of 100MHz. We raised it from 266MHz to 380MHz and left the multiplier at 9x for a clock speed of 3.42GHz. That’s an overclock of 1GHz for the Q6600 and 500MHz for the Q9300 however the performance of the Penryn was significantly faster than the Kentsfield. The other numbers that jump off the page are the power consumption figures which don’t change much for the Q9300. At idle it’s a mere 5W and under load the overclock only costs 25W or to put it another way the overclocked Q9300 draws less power than the standard Q6600.

With the overclocked Q6600 loaded to 100 percent with POV-Ray the system draws a shocking 310W which is a full 125W more than it drew at stock speed. You won’t be surprised to learn that we had to crank up the fan speed of the CPU cooler but it was relatively easy to keep the processor at a healthy 45 degrees Celsius. During PCMark05 the processor load was less extreme and the power draw was a ‘mere’ 260W.

In a straight choice between the Q9300 at 3.0GHz drawing 170W and the Q6600 at 3.4GHz drawing 310W we’d choose… well we don’t need to spell it out really do we?


The Q9300 may sound relatively expensive compared to the Q6600 but it’s well worth the extra money. Kentsfield is history and Penryn rules the heights.

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July 25, 2008, 2:12 pm

Your q6600 sample, is it the old stepping on the newer G0?


July 25, 2008, 2:34 pm

"Things aren’t entirely as they might appear, though, as most Yorkfields have 12MB of L2 cache with 6MB for each core while the Q9300 only has 6MB with 3MB per core"

The Q9300 has 4 cores, so surely that's 1.5Mb per core :p


July 25, 2008, 2:36 pm

I don't understand this review - or rather the results...

The graphs all show that the overclocked Q6600 beats the Q9300 on all accounts except for power usage (due to the manufacturing process no doubt) However your written results hint at the Q9300 being better...

Surely going by the results visible the Q6600 is the better option if you want performance/overclockability? How did the result "well worth the extra money. Kentsfield is history and Penryn rules the heights" come from the Penryn on test losing all tests (bar power) to the Kentsfield?


July 25, 2008, 4:34 pm

It's quite simple really. You can get the same performance for considerably less power. Ok, you're paying a little more for the power saving but then there are other reasons why you'd want to save power than just reducing your electricity bill.

Leo Waldock

July 25, 2008, 6:24 pm

I'm not sure of the Stepping on my Q6600. I'll have to plug it in and have a look. In fact my sample is a bit of an oddity as it is identified as a Xeon 3220. Same spec as a Q6600 but a different ID.

As for the cache of Q9300 it's poor wording on my part as the 6MB of L2 is divided between the two dual core packages so 3MB per dual core.

As for my conclusion, the Q9300 doesn't manage the same clock speed as the Q6600 but it has the same level of performance and uses much, much less power in the process.


July 27, 2008, 11:58 am

Its a pitty you didnt put up some Temperature data of the two chips, I have a Q6600(G0) in my Silverstone SG03 and it can run hot in an SFF Case, I would have liked to seen how the 9300 compares, at a guess due to its less power I would say it would run a lot cooler?


July 28, 2008, 2:51 am

The Q9300 seems like a good CPU but it doesn't seem very well priced at the moment. At 𧵧 it's a lot more then the Q6600 for it's fairly small advantages and the Q9450 with double the cache, a higher clockspeed and a better multiplier isn't that much more at 𧶀.

Leo Waldock

July 29, 2008, 2:06 pm

My Q6600/X3220 is a B3 revision

Jason 4

November 8, 2008, 12:30 am

ChaosDefinesOrder - If you pay closer attention, the Q6600 just BARELY beats out the Q9300 in (not all) those areas and it is clocked considerably higher than the Q9300 (3Ghz vs 3.4Ghz).

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