In fact, such thoughts seem like ancient history today, as we get our first look at the desktop version of Intel's quad-core processors manufactured on its 45nm fabrication process. This new process not only packs in twice as many transistors as 65nm, but also employs new materials to deliver reductions in electrical current leakage. These changes add up to the sort of generational improvement that transports old codgers like me back to the roaring 1990s, when the horizon for CPU progress seemed limitless.
Of course, these days, Intel has hedged its bets by multiplying the number of cores per processor and ramping up the cadence of design innovations to those cores. The result? The new Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor promises big reductions in power consumption and heat production, along with performance increases of up to 20%-at the same 3GHz clock speed as the chip that preceded it. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, this processor could make the prophets of doom and gloom look like downright fuddy-duddies, if you know what I mean. Keep reading to see whether the QX9650 puts a clown suit on the doubters.