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REVIEW / Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550

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Régis Jehl Published on November 6, 2008
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  • Socket 775
  • Number of cores 4
  • Clock rate 2.830000128 GHz
  • Cache 1.2E-5 MB
  • Thermal Design Power 95 W
  • Technology 0 nm
Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9550 is just one model below the most powerful processor in this series, the Q9650.

Although its clock speed of 2.83 GHz is 6% lower than its big brother's 3 GHz, we measured its performance to be 2.4% behind the more powerful model.

Compare the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 with the AMD Phenom X4 9750 and other CPUs in our
Product Face-Off

It's a minimal difference that was only noticeable in certain tests, such as encoding videos.

When it came to encoding our test clip as a DivX file, the Q9550 took 4 minutes 40 seconds, while the Q9650 was just marginally quicker at 4 minutes 23 seconds.

Up against a dual-core processor, though, the discrepancy is a lot more noticeable: the 2.83 GHz E8300 takes 6 minutes 32 seconds to complete the same task.

If you're not a regular user of demanding applications that are optimized for quad-core applications like this one, a dual-core processor with a higher clock speed will be a better bet.

Unfortunately, the weak spot of these powerful quad-core processors is the amount of energy they use.

While the Q9550 was idling, our test PC used 165 W, but 238 W while the CPU was working at 100%;

On a dual-core model like the E8300, these figures are 165 W and 215 W respectively.
Quad-Core from Intel
Intel updated its Core 2 Quad line of processors by adding the Q9050 series in March 2008. This model, the Q9550 (2.83 GHz) joined the Q9450 (2.66 GHz) as part of the initial offering; the Q9650 (3 GHz) followed in August 2008.

Rather than boosting clock speeds from one series to the next, this line of processors has twice the cache of its predecessors in the Q9000 line, which were, at 6 MB, an improvement on the Q8000's 4 MB.

All three of the manufacturer's quad-core collections fit 775 sockets, and like the Q9000 series, these models are engineered at 45 nm, giving them a TDP of 95 W.


  • Shows off its four cores: excellent for all sorts of demanding applications
  • Good in non-optimized applications too


  • High power consumption


All of Intel's Q9050 range are excellent processors for powerful applications like rendering 3D images and video editing. If you're not a regular user of such demanding software, a fast dual-core processor will likely serve your needs better.
5 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 DigitalVersus 2008-11-06 00:00:00
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