Our review of Intel's new Core 2 Extreme quad-core chip went up last week, and our findings, along with the general consensus around the Web, were that the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is the new king of the CPU hill. Today you'll find these new chips available from various system vendors in their high-end gaming rigs, although it's interesting to see who has the chips and who doesn't. Here's a rundown of the big names:
- The haves:
- Alienware's Area-51 ALX CF
- Falcon Northwest's Mach V
- Maingear's F131 SLI
- Velocity Micro's Gamer's Edge PCX
- The have-nots:
- Dell's XPS 720 H2C
- HP's Blackbird 002
- Voodoo PC's Omen
We expect the have-nots will get onboard sooner or later, likely by January at the latest in time for a CES announcement. Dell has a history of latching onto one chipset per model, in its XPS 700-series systems, so it might require a line refresh before we see an Intel X38-based system. As HP and Voodoo, we're surprised that neither has the new chips yet. As a smaller vendor, Voodoo can usually be more nimble with its parts offerings. We were also told by HP that the Blackbird would be similarly quick to adopt new technologies (and ironically, the Blackbird's configurator went live this afternoon, already out of date compared with the rest of the high-end gaming PC market).
All of these vendors could certainly update their sites soon, and we've sent them e-mails asking for time tables. We'll let you know if we hear anything concrete. Just be sure to look at each vendor's offerings carefully if you're shopping for a high-end gaming rig this holiday season. Otherwise, you could end up plunking down more than $5,000 for a gaming rig that's a generation behind.