While we all get excited with the latest and greatest hardware, the 45nm Extreme Edition QX9650 was firmly targeted and priced for the extreme enthusiast. For the rest of us, Intel has finally released a series of 45nm dual-core CPUs targeted at the mainstream user. The E8xxx-series uses the highly anticipated Wolfdale core and benefits from all of Intel’s latest technological breakthroughs. The E8500 we have for review is the fastest of the lot, running at 3.16GHz.
With the smaller fab process, Intel has managed to place a generous 6MB of L2 cache in this CPU. As promised by Intel, the 45nm process also means lower power consumption and heat dissipation. The E8500 has a TDP of 65W, compared to 75W in the previous generation. While based on new technology, the E8500 still fits on any LGA775 socket and runs with chipsets that support a FSB of 1333MHz, such at the P35 and upwards.
Now let’s take a look at how well the E8500 performs. In our standard POV-Ray benchmark, the E8500 rendered at a total of 967 pixels per second. Our QX9650 scored 1830 points in this test, but that was with all four cores. Looking at the single-core results, the E8500 scored 486 pps over the QX9650’s 461 pps. Naturally, you could attribute this to the slightly higher clock-speed of the E8500. But compared to an older QX6850 running at the same speed as the QX9650, the E8500 showed even higher gains per core, but running at lower power levels. Cinebench basically gave us the same conclusions with the E8500 scoring 579 points per core compared to the QX9650’s 548 points per core.
How does the E8500 stand up in a gaming environment? We fired up Intel’s Ice Storm Fighters demo and found it performing at an average of about 45 frames per second; that’s more than enough for all but the most demanding games today and the foreseeable future.