Intel's most affordable 45nm Core 2 Quad processor took a while to show up at online retailers, but it seems to be widely available now, and at lower prices. Today, we see Mwave is offering the CPU for only $279. The processor is in stock, and it comes retail-boxed with a three-year warranty and a stock cooler.
Those who've read our review of the Core 2 Quad Q9300 will know the chip runs at 2.5GHz with a 1333MHz front-side bus and a total of 6MB of L2 cache. Thanks largely to its 45nm Penryn underpinnings, the Q9300's thermal envelope is also a very reasonable 95W (reasonable as far as quad-core chips go, anyway).
Unlike its predecessor—the Core 2 Quad Q6600—we found that the Q9300 managed to keep up overall with higher-clocked dual-core models, yielding an excellent balance between good single-threaded performance and great mutli-threaded performance. We were able to overclock ours to a cool 3.26GHz with a voltage bump of only 0.025V, as well, which isn't half bad for a quad-core CPU.