Final Words

Intel's Core 2 Extreme X6800 didn't lose a single benchmark in our comparison; not a single one. In many cases, the $183 Core 2 Duo E6300 actually outperformed Intel's previous champ: the Pentium Extreme Edition 965. In one day, Intel has made its entire Pentium D lineup of processors obsolete. Intel's Core 2 processors offer the sort of next-generation micro-architecture performance leap that we honestly haven't seen from Intel since the introduction of the P6.

Compared to AMD's Athlon 64 X2 the situation gets a lot more competitive, but AMD still doesn't stand a chance. The Core 2 Extreme X6800, Core 2 Duo E6700 and E6600 were pretty consistently in the top 3 or 4 spots in each benchmark, with the E6600 offering better performance than AMD's FX-62 flagship in the vast majority of benchmarks. Another way of looking at it is that Intel's Core 2 Duo E6600 is effectively a $316 FX-62, which doesn't sound bad at all.

We're still waiting to get our hands on the E6400 as it may end up being the best bang for your buck, but even the slower E6300 is quite competitive with AMD's X2 4200+ and X2 3800+. If AMD drops the price on those two parts even more than we're expecting, then it may be able to hold on to the lower end of the performance mainstream market as the E6300 is not nearly as fast as the E6600.

As impressed as we are with Intel's Core 2 processor lineup, we are still very concerned about availability and street pricing. To quote from our last Core 2 preview article:

While Intel's Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors will be released at the beginning of Q3 of this year it will take some time for all of Intel's shipments to be Conroe based. The scary statistic is that by the end of this year, only 25% of Intel's Performance Mainstream desktop processor shipments will be based on Conroe. The remaining 75% will still be NetBurst based, meaning they will be Pentium 4, Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition.

...

For the Dells of the world, Conroe availability shouldn't be too much of an issue because companies like Dell get first dibs. For years of not going with AMD, all while demanding something more competitive from Intel, you better believe that Dell is going to soak up every last Conroe that it can.

The problem then becomes what happens after Dell and HP have eaten their lunch; unfortunately the concern is that aggressive pricing won't be enough to reduce retail demand for Conroe. What we're worried about happening is a very small supply of Conroes on the retail market in late Q3/early Q4, resulting in much higher street prices than what you see on page 2. In the worst case scenario for Intel, Conroe's limited retail availability could result in a price to performance ratio equal to or worse than AMD's Athlon 64 X2.

Despite pulling in the official launch date for Core 2 processor benchmarks, shipment dates for the CPUs haven't changed. According to Intel:

Intel Core 2 Extreme processor based systems and boxed product are expected to be available on the day of launch, 27 July. Intel Core 2 Duo processor based systems and boxed product [through places such as Newegg] are expected to be available from 7 August. Each OEM has their own product introduction / transition cycles based upon their target market segment and current product offerings. We expect some to offer product in August with more introductions extending through September. Check with the OEMs of your choice to get their specific message on system availability.

From what Intel is telling us, you shouldn't be able to so much as purchase Core 2 processors until after the first week in August, although you'll be able to get complete systems before then. At the same time, we're hearing that distributors already have some Core 2 parts in stock and will begin shipping very soon. While we tend to believe Intel's assessment of availability, we're hoping it's conservative.

If Intel's availability statements are true or even worse, overly optimistic, then don't expect to be upgrading to a Core 2 system anytime soon. However, if all goes well, although Vista may be delayed until 2007, Intel's Core 2 processors will give you a very good reason to upgrade this year.

Overclocking
POST A COMMENT

200 Comments

View All Comments

  • Josh7289 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    When I go to college next year, I know what I'll be buying. :) Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    When I go to college next year, I know what I'll be buying. :)
    When I see AMD price cuts next month, I know what your face'll look like. :)
    Reply
  • theoryzero - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    This review (and the many others from other review sites) is interesting in that it confirms Intel's bold claims made back in March.

    However, with that out of the way, what I really want to know is which chipset/MoBo to go with? Is springing for high-end memory worth it on Core2? Any plans for a motherboard review in the very near future? Given the Abit AB9 preview and recent articles on DDR2-1000 memory I kind of expected this stuff to show up after the NDA was lifted too.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Conroe starts shipping July 27th - the original launch date. Intel moved the launch date back two weeks because OEMs like Dell and HP were hot to start advertising and shipping Conroe systems. I suspect Intel was also trying to salvage their NDA. Good news is hard to contain and two more weeks of NDA would have likely resulted in more info leaks that Intel did not want to turn into a flood.

    You will be able to find answers at AnandTech to your basic Conroe motherboard and memory questions early next week.
    Reply
  • theoryzero - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Sounds good, thanks! Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You will be able to find answers at AnandTech to your basic Conroe motherboard and memory questions early next week.
    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Howard - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    I would have loved to see minimum FPS as well as average FPS. The review was great otherwise. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    While we could report those scores, we didn't feel we should at least on Oblivion. The reason for that is because the Oblivion runs were manually tested with FRAPS, and the results aren't perfectly comparable between runs. Anyway, here are some of the numbers, but recognize that the margin of error is going to be larger than what you would see with automated timedemos:

    Oblivion Bruma:
    Core E6300: 32-53.7-77
    Core X6800: 47-78.6-117
    AMD 3800+: 27-47.0-72
    AMD FX-62: 38-62.5-94

    Oblivion Dungeon:
    Core E6300: 39-81.3-211
    Core X6800: 57-106.5-214
    AMD 3800+: 35-72.0-189
    AMD FX-62: 46-89.9-211

    F.E.A.R.:
    Core E6300: 34-92-224
    Core X6800: 41-118-310
    AMD 3800+: 28-83-212
    AMD FX-62: 38-101-247

    Rise of Legends:
    Core E6300: 8-68.2-137
    Core X6800: 45-120.5-216
    AMD 3800+: 5-52.1-115
    AMD FX-62: 25-78.4-144

    Minimum frame rates in the Rise of Legends benchmark are zero on most of the Pentium D systems, so again we take those with something of a grain of salt. Regardless of how you look at it, though, the Core 2 Duo processors consistently outperform their AMD equivalents in gaming results. We will be looking at additional games next week in our motherboard reviews.
    Reply
  • nowuadmit - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    First off, when u guys reviewed a 486/33 for the first time... it was also "the fastest piece of silicon the world has ever seen"... then later, when u saw the P2-550... THAT was the "fastest piece of silicon... blah blah".

    Well its nice that intel has made a really expensive and barely available new chip, so they can finally match (or even exceed by a few points) AMD's reasonably priced previous generation. So now u can say they have the fastest, and if u want to spend thousands on a CPU that is only slightly faster than something that costs hundreds of dollars, HEY BE MY GUEST! there have been worse wastes of money! (in theory anyways, since the avg american wont be able to actually find any of these in the local stores for quite some time, if intel follows their previous habits).

    Anyhow the point of my comment... i think this is a good thing. i mean, anything that actually causes an intel fanboi to admit finally that intel has been reaming your butts for 5 years..

    while the people who simply buy whatever CPU makes the most sense have been enjoying getting great quality nookie from AMD! SO i present to you, this Technical Quote of the Year, spoken on behalf of all intel fanbois with half a brain!

    Technical Quote of the Year:

    "...power hungry, poor performing, non-competitive garbage (sorry guys, it's the truth) that Intel has been shoving down our throats for the greater part of the past 5 years."

    Congradulations on your honesty, finally.
    Reply
  • MrKaz - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    Yes that’s truth.

    80% of Intel crap, only 20% is good. The Pentium M.

    So they say 5 years ago until now Intel was “all” crap. I think Northwood was/is very good.

    My maximum price is 100$ (or 120$ with cooler) for a CPU. Only AMD as an honest performing CPU for those prices.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now