Intel told us that the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S and the other 65W TDP parts that make up the ‘S-series’ were designed for OEMs or anyone trying to cram as much power into a very small space. With many consumers building HTPC and small form factors it makes sense to roll out a part like this for consumers. On the other side of the fence don’t forget that big Intel customers like Apple and Dell for example, desire low TDP parts to put into sleek systems like the iMac or XPS One. Since the demand was there for an energy efficient part that requires less air flow and space too keep cool, the ‘S-series’ was born.
When it comes to pricing the regular 95W TDP Intel Q9550 sells online for $274.99 with free shipping, which isn’t bad for someone looking to drop in a new processor in an existing platform for additional performance. For those that are building a small system or one with little airflow they need to look towards the Q9550, but get ready to dig a little deeper in your wallet. Intel is basically screening and taking the best parts for the low power ‘S-series,’ and as a result these processors carry a price premium of $103 over that of a regular 95W TDP Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550, according to the Intel Processor Price List shown above. That puts the cost higher than the Intel Core i7 920 Quad Core Processor as it sells online for $294.99 with free shipping and the Core i7 920 was faster in the benchmarks. It wouldn’t make sense to pay this price premium unless you really want to have lower power consumption or have a small form factor system where heat and power are areas of concern.
The performance of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 processor was impressive, and for those wanting to spend under $275 on an LGA775 processor it packs some horsepower under the hood that rivals nearly any other LGA775 processor. With four processing cores running at 2.83GHz, a total of 12MB of shared L2 cache, a 1333MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) and the fact that the processor is built on the 45nm process are the reasons that it does so well in the benchmarks. The Intel Q9550 is also an overclocking monster as we were able to reach an overclock of 1.2GHz with ease. With the Intel Q9550 processor running at a clock frequency of 4GHz it was easily able to compete against the Intel Core i7 series, which shows what a little clock frequency will do to the potential of the Q9550.
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 and Q9550S processors offer great performance for those using an LGA775 system, but be sure to get the one that you need for your system.