Over a week has passed since our Core 2 Extreme & Core 2 Duo review and although the dust is finally starting to settle, not all questions have been answered. We're still hard at work on investigating issues like 64-bit performance and comparing performance per Watt across more applications, but today we're here with another piece of the puzzle: a look at the Core 2 Duo E6300 and E6400.

The E6300 and E6400 are particularly attractive members of the Core 2 family because of their fairly low cost; unfortunately their performance isn't as easy to predict because they are currently the only two Core 2 processors that don't have a 4MB L2 cache. We already illustrated in our earlier review that the larger L2 cache found in the E6600 and above is good for up to 10% of a performance boost depending on the application, but the fact of the matter is that the cheapest 4MB Core 2 Duo is $316 while you can have the E6300 and E6400 for $183 and $224 respectively.

In addition to the question of performance, there's also the issue of overclockability. We've already seen that the high end Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme CPUs are fairly overclockable, thanks in no small part to Intel's 65nm manufacturing process, but what about at the low end? Can you take a $183 Core 2 Duo E6300 and through overclocking achieve performance similar to the more expensive E6600 or even the almighty X6800? It's been a while since we've even wanted to overclock an Intel CPU in order to get better performance. In the past we'd simply recommend buying AMD, but with Core 2 Duo the overclocking prospects are too intriguing to ignore.

New Pricing

AMD hasn't been sitting idle; this week its extremely aggressive price cuts go into effect, making the Athlon 64 X2 a more affordable CPU in many cases compared to Intel's Core 2 processors. AMD also announced its intentions to acquire ATI Technologies, but we'll save that discussion for a forthcoming article.

The new pricing structure can be seen below:

CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Price
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz 4MB $999
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 4MB $530
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 4MB $316
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz 512KBx2 $301
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ 2.4GHz 512KBx2 $240
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz 2MB $224
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz 512KBx2 $187
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz 2MB $183
Intel Pentium D 945 3.40GHz 2MBx2 $163
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0GHz 512KBx2 $152
Intel Pentium D 915 2.80GHz 2MBx2 $133
Intel Pentium D 820 2.80GHz 1MBx2 $113
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66GHz 1MBx2 $93

The Athlon 64 X2 5000+ is now cheaper than the Core 2 Duo E6600, which was really necessary considering that the E6600 is faster than the Athlon 64 FX-62 across the board. If the E6600's street price ends up being significantly higher than the table's suggested $316, the 5000+ (assuming its street price is not also inflated by demand) will be a nice alternative.

The E6400 is now more expensive than the X2 4200+, a comparison that we will be able to look at in-depth today to determine a winner at the low $180 - $230 price range.

And finally we have the E6300, which now is a more expensive competitor to our long-time favorite: the Athlon 64 X2 3800+. Today we'll find out for sure if the E6300 will be the low-cost dual core CPU to have.

Overclocking
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  • Comdrpopnfresh - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Unfortunately, this article goes on the assumption that the AMD chips are not overclocked. To say that the low-end intel chips offer overclocked performance that the AMD FX-62 cannot reach is absurd. With an unlocked multiplier, the FX can certainly stay above Core2's low end. The same could be said for Lower End X2's.... I'd like to see a review with them overclocked compared to Core2's at stock.... Especially since such CPUs on the 939 socket are mature and heavily supported by outstanding overclocking mobos.... Reply
  • OcHungry - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Just be patient till advertizing budget is dried up.
    I wish AMD was more co-operative in paid per review market that has plagued "money buys" technology.net.
    Reply
  • goinginstyle - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Dear OC-Sharikou,

    quote:

    Just be patient till advertizing budget is dried up. I wish AMD was more co-operative in paid per review market that has plagued "money buys" technology.net.


    AMD would have that ability if it were not for that $2.5B loan they just signed and obviously keeping your blog up and running. I hope you are banned for these types of false and mis-leading statements. By the way, where are all of these Intel ads you keep harping about?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Advertising and Editorial are completely independent and separate at AnandTech, we have a 3rd party ad agency that handles all advertising and sales. The agency is completely independent from AnandTech, Inc.

    The OP's points were addressed by the poster above; this article was done after response to the last one asked for more information on the E6300 and E6400. The overclockability of 90nm X2 CPUs is fairly well known, and enough reference points exist within this article to compare overclocked X2 performance vs. E6300/E6400 overclocked performance.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • bere - Wednesday, August 02, 2006 - link

    Actually I think the article is missleading(not on purpose). To compare a 370FSB OC CPU with a 200FSB on DEF is pointless. I would have OC'ed all at least 2 CPU's from both sides to see what's the best buy for an OC'er.
    Sorry for my poor english.
    Reply
  • jjunos - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    This article also assumes you actually read it. From the article:

    quote:

    While we don't have any Socket-AM2 Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPUs on hand (we will use a 4600+ and underclock it for our benchmarks), we do have performance results of the X2 4200+, 4600+ and FX-62 to give you an idea of where an overclocked X2 3800+ can get you performance-wise.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Again, STFU Reply

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