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 Post subject: Intel Q9550S: A Greener Quad Core?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:08 am 
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Intel Q9550S: A Greener Quad Core?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:54 am 
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Excellent review, kudos to Lawrence!

I've always wanted an Intel Core 2 Quad Engineering Sample, let me know if you're selling that sample :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:11 am 
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The Q9550 in either variant seems like a great CPU - it's a shame that it's well beyond my price reach at $360 (the S variant is $560)... My E4300 is itching for an upgrade :(


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 Post subject: Re: Intel Q9550S: A Greener Quad Core?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:13 am 
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Thanks for the review. So what Intel has basically done is not different from what AMD has been doing to their energy efficient processors - they simply undervolt them and they (Intel. not AMD?) added a premium tag to the chip. I doubt too if it the extensive (??) testing done in order to seperate the lower voltage-able chips from others would justify that steep price difference!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:17 am 
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15W less power for $115 more is very unimpressive.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:18 am 
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Much more informative than I expected. I loved the undervolting of the stock equivalent retail processor.

Totally makes me question the x3 720 vs x3 705e comparison if undervolting the higher TDP part works as well. So I guess that is the big question does undervolting work generally across the board with retail CPUs from INTC and AMD?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:50 am 
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thank you for the review! This is a good thing as it means I really shouldnt bother with it.

I am actually going to get the top non-extreme model instead seeing how it is fine for idle and general use wattage wise. I really can't get myself to go from a 3.0 ghz e8400 to a slower clocked quad core since I game, and, since it doesnt really offer a huge wattage savings at idle and movie watching.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:07 am 
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Thanks for the review, Lawrence!

Quote:
The Q9550S was stable at a minimum of 1.064V (1.075V in the BIOS), which coincidentally is the same voltage applied when idling with SpeedStep enabled.


Just wondering: is the idle+speedstep voltage empirical or is there some offical specification that says this CPU idles at that voltage? If the latter, can you tell me what is/where to find this figure for the E5200? What I found on the Intel site is just the range of V.IDs, (something like 0.88V - 1.365V), which I'm pretty sure is something different altogether...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:58 am 
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I think the target market for this chip is strictly data centers, where reduced air-conditioning costs can be just as important as reducing component draw. When you start looking at clusters of thousands of these chips in a confined space, 15W per might be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seems kind of pointless to even offer it through the retail market. Given the price premium, one is better buying a normal C2Q and a motherboard capable of undervolting. I wonder who is buying these a la carte. People with more money than sense?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:02 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
Totally makes me question the x3 720 vs x3 705e comparison if undervolting the higher TDP part works as well. So I guess that is the big question does undervolting work generally across the board with retail CPUs from INTC and AMD?

Yes. The only issue is whether you need it to happen in BIOS, where it becomes dependent on motherboard. For lower end AMD, the cost of MB undervolting support can be larger than the premium for the 45W TDP version. Also, for software undervolting, I don't believe Intel chips let you go below EIST voltage (which doesn't allow for a very impressive undervolt).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:13 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
Totally makes me question the x3 720 vs x3 705e comparison if undervolting the higher TDP part works as well. So I guess that is the big question does undervolting work generally across the board with retail CPUs from INTC and AMD?

There is a thread in the CPU Cooling section, where a user undervolted his 720 BE. Only reporting temperatures though.
I also have a 720 BE & a Kill-A-Watt at home, and if my MB supports undervolting (it should) I will run some tests and report the results. I just have to stop playing Fallout 3 long enough^^


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:26 am 
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I bet Intel appreciates you finding the 120 bucks is basicly for nothing, if you undervolt the chip :) Dunno if it being engineering sample makes any difference... It sure has made a difference in overclocking, so it might also change the way a chip underclocks?

Some temperature tests would have been appreciated. I don't really have any clue of how much of a difference that 15 watts would make? (I guess I'm too lazy to find the thermal resistance of a decent cooler and calculating...)

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Last edited by Jipa on Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:47 am 
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Jipa wrote:
if you underclock the chip :)

Haven't dug deeply, but from what I've seen these chips don't overclock any better than normal. There is probably some sweet spot where they achieve a certain overclock at a lower voltage than a normal version, but hard to believe it is worth the price premium.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:19 pm 
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Jeez you guys are brutally honest in your reviews. As a reader I appreciate it but I hope it doesn't discourage companies from sending you guys more review material :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:31 pm 
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"Average savings for one year: $8.97. Average time to recoup a $115 price difference: 12.8 years."

Terrific! I'm still laughing :lol: :lol: :lol:

Kudos to Lawrence :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:05 pm 
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Temperature test would be very welcome...i'm already seing much improved results moving from a 105W processot to a 95W TDP one...

it should be much easier to cool quietly i'd have thought...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:28 pm 
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Hi,

It looks like the new one is undervolted from the factory? It doesn't go down hardly at all when undervolted...and the older one comes down to almost the level of the new one stock.

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 Post subject: timely
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Wow, this is timely, I got one of these processors about a month ago to replace a q9400 in a SFF system. It's in a Silverstone sg01 case, a system I bought from endpcnoise.com a while back. It's a tricky case to keep a cpu cool in, the cpu is right under the power supply, so it uses a fan pointing up into the power supply to cool it. Not the best path for air flow, but it generally works. However, when I started folding with it, the cpu temp jumped up to around 75 to 80 (according to speedfan.) I thought the q9550s would give me a speed boost and the power drop would keep the temps more manageable. The cpu is currently running around 55 to 60 under load. I'm really pleased with the upgrade in general, the temperature drop makes me feel a lot better and the speed boost is nice. Undervolting might have helped with the temperature, but it would've dropped the speed, so if you want a speed boost and a power drop, it's a good way to go.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:20 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Hi,

It looks like the new one is undervolted from the factory? It doesn't go down hardly at all when undervolted...and the older one comes down to almost the level of the new one stock.

Right, they'll have already undervolted the "S" models (since they've been tested to reliably operate at the specified voltage and full clock speed). As with any binning process, YMMV and all that, so while Lawrence's sample Q9550 undervolted below his sample Q9550S, other Q9550s might not undervolt much at all, while the Q9550Ses are guaranteed to go at least that low (since Intel undervolts to that level from the factory). So you're just paying for the guarantee and having the CPU undervolted already.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:52 pm 
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idale wrote:
So you're just paying for the guarantee and having the CPU undervolted already.


that's it in a nutshell, just Intel charges a much higher premium for it than AMD (because it can).

Nice review and good to have everyone's thoughts on these "low power" chips confirmed :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:54 pm 
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This is one of the few Q9550S reviews that actually compare it with the Q9550 amazingly...

Great read :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:34 pm 
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_MarcoM_ wrote:
"Average savings for one year: $8.97. Average time to recoup a $115 price difference: 12.8 years."

Terrific! I'm still laughing :lol: :lol: :lol:

Kudos to Lawrence :)


Part of it is vendors charging more than the MSRP...that would drop the 12.8yrs to a mere 6yrs :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:55 am 
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Thank you for this article! Clears things up, my e6400 still does 1.064 V 24/7 so no special "S" part for me.

Might be a mishap but after such a honest article, making the link in

"Our thanks to Intel for Q9550S sample."

go to amd.com is genius. :D 8)

Hmmm, ok, you fixed it... :wink:


Last edited by Envy007 on Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:18 am 
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I have a regular Q9550, not only does it run happily at 1.15v but it also runs at 1.15v whilst having a clock of 3.4Ghz :)

The 45nm quads are fantastic, not sure why they've brought out these new energy efficient ones that are just really normal Q9550's that have been specially binned!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:35 am 
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Because typically the people who buy high end chips have more money than sense. 8)

*shrug* I really don't know. It bothers me when it looks like a company repackages something and raises the cost. As far as I can tell all they did was give it a new ID with a lower standard voltage and add an 'S' to the box. For some reason I don't think that is worth $100. :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:54 am 
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Ch0z3n wrote:
Because typically the people who buy high end chips have more money than sense. 8)

*shrug* I really don't know. It bothers me when it looks like a company repackages something and raises the cost. As far as I can tell all they did was give it a new ID with a lower standard voltage and add an 'S' to the box. For some reason I don't think that is worth $100. :roll:


A Q9650 costs much more than a Q9550 yet they're basically the same chip. They only changed the default clockspeed (multiplier) and ID and then more. Or better yet, take the "Extreme" chips whose only difference is an unlocked multiplier. They cost an arm and leg more.
The same thing happens here. Instead of changing the default clockspeed they changed the default voltage. And just like in this case, where anyone can undervolt their chip, anyone can overclock his (cheaper) chip and end up with the same or better performance than the pricier chip.


It's all about the greens $$

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:56 am 
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rpsgc wrote:
Ch0z3n wrote:
Because typically the people who buy high end chips have more money than sense. 8)

*shrug* I really don't know. It bothers me when it looks like a company repackages something and raises the cost. As far as I can tell all they did was give it a new ID with a lower standard voltage and add an 'S' to the box. For some reason I don't think that is worth $100. :roll:


A Q9650 costs much more than a Q9550 yet they're basically the same chip. They only changed the default clockspeed (multiplier) and ID and then more. Or better yet, take the "Extreme" chips whose only difference is an unlocked multiplier. They cost an arm and leg more.
The same thing happens here. Instead of changing the default clockspeed they changed the default voltage. And just like in this case, where anyone can undervolt their chip, anyone can overclock his (cheaper) chip and end up with the same or better performance than the pricier chip.


It's all about the greens $$


Don't forget the CPUs are binned. A Q9650 will run faster than a Q9550, a QX will run a hell of a lot faster than either.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:01 am 
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rpsgc wrote:
Ch0z3n wrote:
Because typically the people who buy high end chips have more money than sense. 8)

*shrug* I really don't know. It bothers me when it looks like a company repackages something and raises the cost. As far as I can tell all they did was give it a new ID with a lower standard voltage and add an 'S' to the box. For some reason I don't think that is worth $100. :roll:


A Q9650 costs much more than a Q9550 yet they're basically the same chip. They only changed the default clockspeed (multiplier) and ID and then charge an arm and a leg more.
The same thing happens here. Instead of changing the default clockspeed they changed the default voltage. And just like in this case, where anyone can undervolt their chip, anyone can overclock his (cheaper) chip and end up with the same or better performance than the pricier chip.


How is one thing acceptable and the other isn't?

Exactly, it's pretty much all the same thing: they make a batch of chips, determine the performance level of each one, and bin them accordingly. The manufacturer guarantees the performance at stock speed/voltage/core count, and depending on the exact sample you get, you may be able to over-/underclock/-voltage (or unlock extra functional cores, such as some Phenom X3s may have) or you may pretty well be at the sample's limit.

You pay for the performance guarantee and for not having to do the configuration yourself (since it's the default level of the CPU). It's up to each of us to determine whether the extra cost from one product to the next is worth the guarantee or if we'd rather take the chance and try and reach that level with a "lesser" processor.

But, the extra cost for the "S" models is certainly hard to swallow unless you really need that guarantee (can't think of any specific examples, though) or don't have undervolting options in your BIOS (and really needed that handful of watts). Presumably prices will come down if as few people find them "worth it" as it seems like, though with as little difference as the undervolting seems to make here, it'd have to be a fairly small premium over the standard models to make it "worth it" to most of us, I think....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:15 am 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
Don't forget the CPUs are binned. A Q9650 will run faster than a Q9550, a QX will run a hell of a lot faster than either.


Uh... what?!


Perhaps it runs faster because it has a higher clock speed...?! A QX is nothing more than a Q with an unlocked multiplier (and higher clock speed as well where applicable). I don't know where you got those crazy ideas from.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:47 am 
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Paying more for higher tolerance/performance parts is nothing new or abnormal. It's just the way of the world.

This is true for all kinds of technological products (as well as farmed, grown or harvested items). In test microphones, for example, a mic calibrator with a NIST certification and guaranteed 0.25 dB precision under a wide range of temp, humidity and atmosphere pressure (altitudes) might fetch $3000. A virtually identical instrument, but not NIST certified, with only 0.5 dB assured precision, and not as rigorously tested under wide conditions, might only be $1000. Most users will not pay the 200% surcharge, but there are circumstances and applications in which the pricier item is preferred.

CPUs have been binned since the very start. Most C2Ds (and A64 x2s) come off the same assembly line. Binning separates the high end parts from the mids and the lows.

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