While the bigger cache and SSE4 do not help any application, it is a huge step forward for Intel. Now you can use a quad-core and not have to worry about your electricity bill. If the cores are idle, they stay idle, and consume much less power than any Core2 so far. Even under load it does not use more energy than our E6700. In short, it's fast, it's cool and it's energy efficient.
For gamers and "normal" users a quad core simply won't provide any advantage compared to any dual-core CPU, but in the near future some games will make use of them; for example, Microsoft Flight Simulator X already does.
Data center operations and rendering farms will take advantage of the new family and we believe sooner, rather than later. Rendering farms will have their software updated for SSE4, which will increase in speed and save "Hollywood" a lot of cash. The same is true for the energy efficiency for data centers, as 45W x 1000 machines saves a lot of energy costs, too.
Now it is AMD's turn. We will soon see if the new K10 can compete against Intel, especially in speed and energy savings.
We recommend the Penryn series of processors over all other currently available CPUs, primarily due to its high performance and low power consumption, which is a direct result of the new 45nm process and the built-in energy management. It will be rather difficult to get one right now, as the first batches go into Xeon production and the few desktop CPUs will be used by Dell, HP and some other high-end manufacturers. We expect mass availability, especially of the smaller models, in February 2008 but maybe Intel will surprise us all with faster and wider availibility of the Penryn.
The price tag ? It is the usual US$999, but we think it will not deter professionals who will appreciate all the benefits of the new architecture and utilize its full potential. This is simply the best CPU you can buy today and it will even overclock to 4.3GHz with an air cooler. What more can you ask for?