As stated in our QX9650 article, the new power saving features are worth investing in this CPU family. The newer ASUS board is more energy efficient, as we have stated in our review. So, buying a Penryn-based CPU will save you some costs on your power bill. We noticed about 31W more usage with the new board with 3.20GHz compared to the 3.00GHz QX9650. We have re-run all the tests on both boards with both CPUs and can only confirm the results. We have no clue why there is such a difference, while the 3600MHz results are quite close.
While we recommended the QX9650, we could not do so with the QX9770. Of course, it is a good CPU, but for 200MHz more, Intel wants to get $500/€360 more out of your pocket, and this is just too much. Meanwhile, some vendors are going for workstation and server boards with overclocking abilities, so quite frankly, there is no more need to buy the most expensive CPU available, because you can now overclock even Xeon CPUs.
We hope to receive the smallest Penryn quad-core CPU soon, because we think the Penryn family has very strong overclocking capabilities; and combined with the new power management it is the best CPU on the market. While the QX9770 is listed for about €1200,- on geizhals.at, you may buy the smallest of the quad-core CPUs for less than €300,- which is 1/4 the price, with 4/5 of the clock frequency, but with half of the 3rd level cache.