Introducing the 4000 series

With the E6420 and E6320 getting 4MB L2s, there's now room for a lower end Core 2 Duo SKU with a 2MB L2 cache again: enter the Core 2 Duo E4000 series. Due to launch this month, the Core 2 Duo E4300 will eventually be followed by the Core 2 Duo E4400 (released in Q2). Both are dual core offerings like their 6000 series siblings, but differentiate themselves by only featuring a 2MB L2 cache, lower clock speeds, 800MHz FSB and feature no support for Intel Virtualization Technology. However, given that VT isn't anywhere near being a mainstream requirement, the E4000 series ends up being a cheap way of getting Core 2 Duo performance.

The E4000 series is based on Intel's Allendale core, not Conroe, so there's physically only 2MB of cache on the die itself (not 4MB with half of the cache disabled). The end result is that these chips are cheaper to make, cooler running and should be pretty overclockable.

The E4300 will launch first at 1.80GHz (200MHz x 9.0), followed by the E4400 at 2.0GHz (200MHz x 10.0). Since the clock multiplier is fixed at 9.0, the only hope for overclocking is by increasing the FSB frequency. With such a low default clock multiplier, you can actually overclock the chip pretty easily.

Using Gigabyte's GA-965P-DS3 motherboard, our engineering sample was able to run at 3.375GHz (375MHz x 9.0) at 1.468V using a stock Intel cooler. Although the E4300 still only has a 2MB L2 cache, when overclocked to over 3.3GHz you end up with a chip that's faster than Intel's Core 2 Extreme X6800 - at only $163. The E4300 gets even better in Q2 when its price will drop from $163 to $133, making it even more of a bargain.

The Test

Today's review will focus on the overall performance of the E4300 at stock speeds as well as when overclocked. At stock speeds the E4300 is priced as a cheaper alternative to the Core 2 Duo E6300 and AMD's Athlon 64 X2 3800+, thus the comparison between those two chips is obvious. When overclocked however, the E4300 can hang with the best of the best and thus you'll see comparisons all the way up to the X6800 and Athlon 64 X2 5000+.

We wanted to showcase the performance potential of the E4300 without resorting to more expensive 1066MHz or faster memory and thus we used a 2:1 memory-to-FSB ratio at stock speeds (DDR2-800) and 1:1 ratio for overclocking, resulting in our memory running at DDR2-750. With more expensive memory the overclocked E4300 would perform even better but our focus was on best bang for your buck with the chip and how well it can overclock. As you will soon see, you don't need anything faster than DDR2-800 memory to make the E4300 a very compelling chip.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 (2.93GHz/4MB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40GHz/4MB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13GHz/2MB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (1.86GHz/2MB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 (1.80GHz/2MB)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
Chipset: Intel P965
nForce 590 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 8.1.1.1010
NVIDIA 9.35
Hard Disk: Seagate 7200.9 300GB SATA
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 97.44
Resolution: 1600 x 1200
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2

Index General Performance
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  • dubrov - Sunday, February 11, 2007 - link

    WHY IN ARTICLE PICTURE I SEE:

    VOLTAGE = 1.213 v

    WHILE THE TEXT BELOW THE PICTURE STATES:

    VOLTAGE = 1.468 V

    Which one is true?

    P.S. Bought E4300 yesterday - it DOES NOT POST on FSB > 325 MHz at a default voltage.
    Is it safe to raise the voltage up to 1.5 V (won't it burn the core2 before the temperature sensor reacts)?
    Reply
  • penga - Sunday, February 04, 2007 - link

    E4300 is the n1 competitor to the X2 EE SFF Series regarding power/performance-efficiency, so why would u not include at least an X2 3800 EE SFF or an 4000+ 65nm in ur tests? Reply
  • coolme - Friday, February 02, 2007 - link

    Overall, this is a great review. The really throughly explained the advantages, and the disadvantages of the E4300. (Basically an underclocked E6700 that's doesn't have virtualization, and E4400 will have a x10 multiplier) I just wanted to say thanks, and note a minor typo in the review.

    In page 7, power consumption the paragraph between the 2 charts "Overclocked, the E6300 uses a bit more power than the X6800 but that’s to be expected.". It's the E4300 that's overclocked, not E6300.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • lapierrem - Friday, January 19, 2007 - link

    I am surprised, that I have not yet seen a single one of these up on ebay yet.
    What gives? Release something awesome but don't actually put any stock out there...and make everyone wait and the price go up...
    Reply
  • Yongsta - Sunday, January 14, 2007 - link

    Looks good, can't wait I've been holding on my next upgrade for something like this. Initially I had a Celeron 300 ($100) which I overclocked to 500 mhz+ and outperformed P4 450 ($650). Next upgrade was both Barton 2500 ($90) overclocked to past Barton 3200 speeds & P4 2.4c ($170) at 3.6 ghz. All my purchases were best bang for the buck (including video cards in the past with hacks to enable disabled pipelines, etc) and in this chip it looks like I can get it again. Reply
  • aznskickass - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    The overclocked performance of the E4300 @ 3.37GHz looks very low IMO.

    Anandtech - are you sure the E4300 was not throttling at this point? I would assume 3.37GHz/1.475V on the stock HSF would get pretty hot, possibly hot enough to trigger CPU throttling.

    Reply
  • just4U - Saturday, January 13, 2007 - link

    Some one mentioned here that a 3Ghz C2D value chip will walk all over Amd's Budgit X2's running at 1.8- 2.0G.

    I sort of found that a rather odd comment to make. Many enthusiast's look at these chips for overclock potential so.. chances are you wouldnt be dealing with a stock X2 either.

    I kinda wish they had the 3800 overclocked as well so we could get a look at both of them and compare it on a more level playing field. Granted the C2D would still walk all over the amd chip but it would be interesting to see the results.

    Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Where is the clock for clock comparisons? E4300 @ same speed as like an E6400 (overclock both to like 3Ghz) and test. That will let us really see if it's worth spending the extra cash for the E6300/6400. Reply
  • harpoon84 - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    The E4300 is slightly faster than the X2 4200+ overall - go ahead, count how many the E4300 wins, and how many the X2 4200+ wins. The E4300 wins the count 8 - 3, although those numbers are a bit misleading as most of the time the margins between the chips are very close.

    In terms of price/performance, the $163 pricetag is justified, but I still prefer it at the Q2 price of $113! ;)
    Reply
  • Xcom1Cheetah - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Look pretty tempting but i think it is priced a little higher like

    Firstly it look like as is it a high end Core 2 Celeron (with lower FSB and half the cache BUT 2 cores). So it should be priced in between Celeron and Core 2 Territory.

    Secondly its performance overall at stock speed is between X2 3800+ and X2 4200+.. The 3800+ is going for 133 and 4200+ is for 169... (i m talking about newegg prices)

    So it should be priced like around US $150 at most in my view... and around 3800+ price to give AMD even more tough time.:) but not more than US $150 in any case.

    Just my view..
    Reply

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