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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  • bob661 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I wonder if motherboard prices fore the Conroe's will go down once Nvidia and ATI start making chipsets for those CPU's. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I'm sure they will, and I will myself switch to Conroe when prices drop enough.

    For now though, there seem to be many questions left unanswered: how much these chips actually overclock (seems both that low-end parts do not overclock nearly as well as high-end, which is very different from X2s, and it also seems that not everyone is matching AT's overclock results), how expensive of a motherboard you need to get a good overclock (seems like a very expensive one, very different from X2s once again, where a cheap DFI Infinity or ePox motherboard overclocks basically as well as an expensive ASUS), and my above point of whether or not Conroe is actually faster dollar for dollar at the X2 5000+ level and below (I suspect it isn't). These articles need to be adressing these above points, rather than pointing out what we already understand - yes Conroe is faster clock for clock.

    Anandtech is doing something very dangerous by putting certain chips together in people's minds. The X2 3800+ and E6300 are NOT competitors, the AMD part is probably $150 cheaper after motherboard purchase. But since AT is placing ideas in people's heads about the Intel part being so much faster, when Conroe is available for purchase and the very possible price-gouging takes place, people are still going to buy them thanks to sloppy reporting, since they are now convinced that Conroe destroys AMD's equivilent chips by such a large degree, and therefore paying $250 for a E6300 must still be a good choice. If AT were instead comparing the E6300 to a X2 5000+, buyers would see the true performance difference, and then be able to figure out that if the Intel part is at all above MSRP it isn't a good deal with these motherboard prices.
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    quote:

    The X2 3800+ and E6300 are NOT competitors, the AMD part is probably $150 cheaper after motherboard purchase. But since AT is placing ideas in people's heads about the Intel part being so much faster, when Conroe is available for purchase and the very possible price-gouging takes place, people are still going to buy them thanks to sloppy reporting, since they are now convinced that Conroe destroys AMD's equivilent chips by such a large degree, and therefore paying $250 for a E6300 must still be a good choice. If AT were instead comparing the E6300 to a X2 5000+, buyers would see the true performance difference, and then be able to figure out that if the Intel part is at all above MSRP it isn't a good deal with these motherboard prices.


    Again, where are you getting that? It's an AM2 AMD vs Conroe comparison, so again, you're point about motherboard cost isn't as relevant as you make it out to be. Granted, you'll pay more this week for a Conroe-capable motherboard and the E6300 is still approximately $31 more but it's not the dramatic price gap that would elevate the 5000+ parts to be equivalent.

    It would have been nice to see a 939 vs. Conroe comparison, but even that's not apples to apples since the 4800+ is rated at 110w on AMD's site vs. 65w for the Conroes. Personally, sitting in a heatwave I'm beginning to appreciate how much a s939 4000+ throws off.
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    And check the article again Mr. Attention-to-detail. An E6300 isn't $250, it's $183. Guess you skipped that part once you started foaming at the mouth.... Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Please read more carefully. I was talking about buying a post price-gouging E6300, and therefore making up a higher price it might go for. I think it was quite clear. Reply
  • theteamaqua - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    meh no where near extreme

    ES5 stepping B1 (retail is stepping6 , B2) can go much higher

    E6400 : 8x480
    E6300: 7x500

    this is weak OCing
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Everyone knows AMD processors have always been, and will always be, far superior to the crap from Intel. Any article suggesting otherwise is clear evidence of pro-Intel bias, that indeed you all get weekly checks from Intel for the favorable press. The reality is that most Intel processors really don't even work at all; all the supposed PC's sold with Intel processors secretly use AMD processors instead, but again Intel pays off the companies to say they're Intel Inside. Intel has an endless supply of money because of their unfair business practices and the Magic Money Fairy.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    hey, also, why did y'all mod me down to zero on that? come on, it was funny! at least a little funny? worth a chuckle for everyone but coldpower?
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    I daresay I got quite a laugh out of coldpower's response(s) to my little attempt at satire.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    by the way, coldpower, I didn't include the silly /sarcasm tag because I thought it would be far less funny (just plain stupid even) if I did. The idea was to start off sounding rather fanboy-ish but potentially serious, head towards the deep-end, and then go completely into tin-foil-hat territory. I was actually going to make it far longer and more complicated, probably tie in to the Masons somehow, but I had other things to do so I just wound it up quick with the 'Magic Money Fairy' bit.

    Surely I thought anyone I got on the hook would have wiggled off around the time I claimed that most 'Intel-Inside' PC's actually had AMD chips in them...
    Reply

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