Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fan, video card and hard drive model. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements POV-Ray 3.7 was run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load. All of the systems used identical hardware minus the motherboard and processor.
Results: When it came to idle power consumption the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor consumed less power than the Q6600, which makes since as it has less cache. The entire system consumed just 139W at idle, which is impressive considering the quad-core system has a water cooler hooked up to it. At full load the Q9300 consumes roughly the same Wattage as the dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Black Edition. This means that consumers can update from processors like the 5000+ that they have had for the past year or two and not see a significant increase in power consumption thanks to energy efficient processors like the Q9300.
Intel has a winner on their hands with the Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor. At $285.99 shipped to your door it is priced higher than any AMD Phenom quad-core processor, but rightly so as our benchmarking showed it out performing Phenom in every benchmark except memory bandwidth. Not too shabby for the entry level 45nm quad-core processor!
Intel has also released Q9450 and Q9550 processors, which have higher clock frequencies and twice as much cache as the Q9300 that we reviewed here today. The Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 will set you back $620.99, so the Q9300 looks like a pretty good deal considering how it performs and overclocks. Speaking of overclocking, being able to hit 470MHz FSB with just ~1.31Vcore was very impressive. Our top overclock was over 1GHz higher than the stock frequency and that pushed the final clock frequency to 3.5GHz! For those wanting more performance the Q9300 didn’t disappoint. The only negative on the Q9300 is the relatively low multiplier of 7.5 and this is only a negative for those wanting to reach over 4GHz. With a 7.5 multiplier a FSB of 533MHz will need to be reached to hit the magical 4GHz mark. This is beyond the limits of most motherboards, so if you plan on overclocking don’t expect to get much more than 3.5GHz with the Q9300.
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor might be the entry-level 45nm quad-core processor, but the performance numbers sure doesn’t suggest that!