In addition to bringing its "Extreme" high-end CPU brand to laptops, Intel also announced a handful of new desktop quad chips today. The highlight is the top-end $999 Core 2 Extreme QX6850, a 3.0GHz chip with a new 1,333MHz front side bus. Intel also announced three dual-core CPUs that also get the newer, faster bus, the 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo E6850 ($266), the 2.66GHz E6750 ($183), and the 2.33GHz E6550 ($163). Rounding out the announcement, a new 1,066MHz front side bus Core 2 Quad chip makes its debut as well. The Q6700 will sell with a clock speed of 2.66GHz for $530.
We'll have a review up of the new QX6850 chip by the end of the day, but our testing found that it didn't deliver a major performance advantage, even when we tried it with newer DDR3 Corsair memory (on a mainstream P35 chipset Asus motherboard). More than revolutionizing desktop performance now, these new chips set the stage for Intel's new X38 chipsets due out later this year, which will include wider bandwidth PCI Express 2.0 support for graphics cards. So gamers and performance junkies, you probably don't need to rush out right this second for one of these new chips, but at least when the new chipsets arrive later this year, we know that the chips you can use with them will be there.