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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  • Igi - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    After reading this and previous Core2 review there are still some questions I would like to be answered. In both reviews many games and standard apps were tested, but I was really hoping to see a review where some software development applications would be tested (MS Visual Studio 6 and 2005, Borland Delphi 7, 2006) on new platform.

    Currently I’m working on project with several million lines of C++ code and it takes quite some time to build the whole application regardless of distributed compiling. During the development I have to test new code, therefore I have to build my own intermediate version on my workstation. While the compiling process can be distributed the linking process can’t. Therefore single treaded performance is still the most important.

    I remember reading somewhere that more than 5 million copies of MS Visual Studio 2005 Express were downloaded in a few weeks after the release. This means the SW development community is quite large and you shouldn’t just ignore it. You can find several free large C++, and Delphi Pascal projects on SourceForge.

    I also haven’t found a decent review on the net where Solid Modeling CAD/CAM applications (Solidworks 2006, ProEngineer Wildfire 3.0) were tested either on Woodcrest or Core2 platform. I know it’s difficult to test applications you don’t know anything about them, but a few basic tests like: model rebuild times, feature build times would be enough.

    Several years ago when Johan was still publishing reviews on aceshardware web-site some of the reviews included EDA software. Millions of users around the world are using EDA software to develop hardware. Basically I’m also very interested in a review where apps like Xilinx ISE, Modelsim, Synplicity Synplify, PCAD, Specctra Autorouter, Hyperlynx and many others would be tested on new Core2 CPUs. I remember the days I bought P4 with RDRAM just because Modelsim run so much faster on a computer with high bandwidth memory interface. Several years later I bought A64 3000 computer because it was able to run Xilinx ISE (place and route of a large FPGA project) 200-250% faster than P4 3.2GHz.

    Probably Core2 CPUs will excel in all apps, but I would really like to see the numbers. I don’t care who wins, Intel or AMD. Developers in a company where I work get the machines I recommend them based on the past experience, the knowledge I gather on review sites like AT, forums and newsgroups.

    Anand, don’t let this site to become just another average “shoot-em-up games” test site. Once in a while, put together a review of apps mentioned above or similar running on new CPUs and professional users will be grateful.

    One last thing, I remember more than a year ago in one of the reviews it was said that we will soon see a review of professional graphic cards (Quadro, FireGL). Are we going to see this review anytime soon?
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Saturday, July 29, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Probably Core2 CPUs will excel in all apps, but I would really like to see the numbers. I don’t care who wins, Intel or AMD. Developers in a company where I work get the machines I recommend them based on the past experience, the knowledge I gather on review sites like AT, forums and newsgroups.


    Please email me. :)
    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Damn you Anand! You're making me regret my recent, admittedly cheap, X2 3800+ purchase. These cheap Core 2s really seem worth the extra wait for cheaper mobos, and the mobo instalation hassle, which was a major reason I decided to go with the X2 (getting lazy lately). The swap took like 5 mins.

    But no, I'm fine thank you. This will be fine once I fugure out why I'm getting random reboots and overclock the hell out of it,... right?

    Great review BTW. Too bad some thick skulls can't comprehend it.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    well i must say the whole article is full of crap and idiot comparing benches oc'ed versus non oc'ed.

    but finally you are getting the idea hot to start a review and how to formalize the final words... altough the the low end core e6300-e6400 might be slight better performers the do cost more if you want a decent mobo/proc combo...

    but these oc against stock is stupid, at least you should add oc'ed 3800 and 4600 to the list before you post this whole article and guess what a 149$ chip clocks eassily
    from 2000 to 2650 with minor changes. same as an e6300 and others would do.

    one more thing ever tought of just not running 1 on 1 benches but actually stress the system in some fine multitasking... then again put a chart up for compare... will be interesting to see except for the intel marketing bulldozer......

    i'll give you a hint how it looks like... bashed core 3.0 versus k8 2.6
    http://techreport.com/etc/2006q2/woodcrest/index.x...">http://techreport.com/etc/2006q2/woodcrest/index.x...
    Reply
  • Guuts - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    I'm sorry, but did you even read the whole article? Or any of the previous comments where the writers explained why there were no overclocked X2s?

    I'm not going to generalize and say that ANYone that reads this and similar sites already knows the overclocking capabilities of, for example, the 3800+ X2, (which can fairly easily reach 2.6GHz on air)...but I know I sure knew that fact quite well by now, and when I was reading the article, I just substituted the 5000+ X2 results as the "overclocked" 3800+ because that is the results they would have come up with.

    So yes, the 3800+ will clock up to 2.6GHz (5000+ speeds), as will the e6300/e6400, and you can compare this very well in the graphs even without truely overclocking an actual 3800+ CPU.

    No need to say the article is full of crap and idiotic when you didn't bother to read it carefully, or because it came to conclusions that you didn't like.
    Reply
  • Vinnybcfc - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    I suggest you read the article 1st a 3800+ can only obtain about 2.8 max if your lucky; guess what they had a AMD 2.8ghz processor in there list Reply
  • atenza - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    I have just one question: How is it possible, that a 39% overclock of the E6300 results in a 53% performance increase in the Rise of Legends benchmarks?

    Anyone got an idea? Please, share it with me ;-)
    Reply
  • OcHungry - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    It's final. There’s no ATI for conroe-no crossfire, no chipset, nothing, nada.
    Nvedia's SLI is up in the air, and most probably will not happen.
    As I said before, You can buy an AM2 mobo+cpu+2 cheap SLI vid card, for less than $450 and no Intel set up can beat your gaming machine considering. High end? wlet it be 4x4.
    E6300 are gouged to $295 (mwave.com) and a $250 mobo to be able to overclock the way AT is suggesting.
    This is my formal request to AT Management to revise this review to reflect what is available for conroe and please this time show us the AM2 cpu's overclocked, instead of hypothesizing everything (including availabilities of mobo and chipset), and what's the cheapest gamer's (so called enthusiast)setup.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link


    quote:

    Nvedia's SLI is up in the air, and most probably will not happen.


    You probably should check the news section before making this kind of statement. ;-)

    "SANTA CLARA, CA—JULY 27, 2006—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processor technologies, today announced that many of the world’s leading system builders have elected to launch new enthusiast gaming Intel Core 2 Duo-based systems exclusively with NVIDIA SLI technology. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor combined with an NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 or NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI or 570 SLI-based motherboard and one, two, or even four GeForce® graphics processing units (GPUs), has already proven to be an unbeatable combination in terms of system level and gaming performance. This combination is earning early accolades from leading publications, such as Maximum PC magazine, which selected an Intel Core 2 Duo processor-compatible motherboard based on NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI technology and dual GeForce 7900 GTX GPUs for their 2006 Dream Machine cover story. ™"
    Reply
  • OcHungry - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    Well, there was no news on Nvedia’s SLI when I posted my reply. I am glad Nvedia has come to Intel’s rescue.
    But I am not too optimistic about this announcement. It’s kind of late in the game, and by the time those boards are shipped, AMD Is showing off the K8L. Even if K8L is not due till 1Q 07, enthusiasts will have to think twice pouring out $300 on a conroe SLI ready mobo.
    Soon AMD will release the 4x4's that will cost less than $1k (according to AMD) which is faster than any conroe system. But speculation aside, let’s look at what is available today and how much will cost: A good overclocking conroe board costs $270 compared to $120 AM2 boards.
    An E6300 + mobo will cost around $500 (to be able to OC FSB to 400mhz). With that much money you can buy http://www.mwave.com/mwave/viewspec.hmx?scriteria=...">A64 4200+http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">motherboard+http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">1gig of ram+http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">Vid Card.
    Reply

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