A Newcomer from Intel: The Core 2 Duo E7200

A couple of weeks before the Phenom X3 launch Intel sent this little gem:

That's the Core 2 Duo E7200, it's due out sometime this quarter and it's supposed to sell for $133. The 45nm dual-core E7200 runs at 2.53GHz, with a 1066MHz FSB and has a 3MB L2 cache. Given what we reported in our last CPU story, we don't expect to see Intel hit the $133 mark with this chip until 45nm dual core shipments ramp up in late Q2/early Q3. A quick search online reveals the E7200 selling for around $160 today.

Intel also trimmed the pricing on some of its CPUs, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 now sells for $224 and the Core 2 Duo E6850 is now priced at $183.

Mainstream Platforms: Intel has an Issue

In the sub-$200 CPU space, most of these chips will be paired up with a motherboard that supports integrated graphics. For AMD that means the new 780G chipset and for Intel that means G35. Now from a general performance standpoint, these two chipsets perform very much like their more expensive, enthusiast-class siblings (790FX and P35/X48). You may give up 2 - 3% in the way of performance but motherboards are much cheaper and you get the benefit of integrated graphics, which is more than sufficient if your usage doesn't including heavy 3D gaming.

Unfortunately, Intel is in a not-so-great position right now when it comes to its platforms. It can't turn to ATI anymore for integrated graphics solutions, and with a full out war on NVIDIA brewing, it's left alone to provide chipsets for its processors as NVIDIA's latest IGP solutions are not yet available for Intel CPUs.

While G45 will hopefully bring full H.264/VC1/MPEG-2 decode acceleration to Intel's integrated graphics, it's just not ready yet. And while ATI/NVIDIA have historically held the integrated graphics performance advantage, now it's arguably even bigger. Without full HD-decode support on its chipsets, it's not just gamers that Intel is alienating, the platforms are preventing further adoption of Blu-ray on the PC.

So what are the options for OEMs? Either go with an AMD platform, or stick an AMD or NVIDIA graphics card in their Blu-ray enabled Intel machines. Neither option is something that Intel should be happy with right now. Intel's forthcoming G45 chipset does, at least in theory, solve this problem - however it's at least a couple of months away from being released.

As far as mainstream platforms go, AMD is definitely the winner here. The CPU performance leaves much to be desired, but for once (for once), we actually have a tangible platform advantage on the desktop. Now if you pirate your HD movies then none of this matters, as GPU accelerated H.264 decode doesn't work on much pirated content.

Why Bother with Three Cores? The Test
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  • bgd73 - Monday, April 28, 2008 - link

    I read a few pages from a 1360 page book about computer repairing, in the history section. It was big nm back then, big power going wild... it states 1mhz for 1mbyte transfer. No wonder I think my 2.8e from 2003 before all your multicore quibbling is still just as decent as modern times...with 2 cores not quite bragged about. They are simply organizing cpus more than ever and reducing the die size. Keeping performance of the first of dual cores is as far as it may go for years...until the mhz is increased. 2800 mhz as a width is as wide as it goes. Organizing it does bring performance, like defragging a drive. Furthermore, if software knows how to use it...other software running simultaneous is losing..just like an old "hack me cuz I am errored forever" single core. Single cores are done, clean up that room with at least 2 thread cpus, that is all I found to be with 2 or more threads..very strong stable,secure, won't blip to a light switching on in the same room on the same circuit. The rest is marketing, they have to say something don't they... Reply
  • gochichi - Saturday, April 26, 2008 - link

    These processors are all "good" but this performance mark is not the "holy grail", I'd like to see more performance over time, as I'm used to.

    I recently switched to Intel, and you know, I'm happy with their prodcuts. I think AMD needs to get moving, their product's weakness isn't good for the industry.

    Both Nvidia and Intel have no competition, their job is just to maximize their profits on old research and development rather than actually competing under pressure.

    Reply
  • hoelder - Friday, April 25, 2008 - link

    If AMD would create and express team on the Processor side, take the best die implementation they currently have, lock the doors and over and over 24/7 cast new dies until they have a mass producible Opteron 4 core or Phenom 4x with 4 GHz, then they are where the should be today. Because in the end it's the CPU clock. And with every smaller die add cores and cache, it is plausible. Intel can afford that of course, but has also a tail of people involved. With a smaller team you can create miracles and with good enthusiasm on the exec level, that works. Reply
  • haplo602 - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    What about linux kernel compilation with j2/3/4/6/8 ??? I'd like to see that comparison ...

    Reply
  • MrMilli - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    Your power usage chart is a bit deceiving.
    In the article you mention that Windows Media Encoder is actually hardcoded to only support powers of two number of cores. Still you use this for measuring the power on a Phenom X3. So basically the 3th core is just idling.
    I think that's the reason there is such a big gap between the X3 and X4.
    Reply
  • enjoycoke - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    I think Intel won't be releasing their new platform until 3rd Quater because they have been having such a good run with their current platforms already and will be taking a bit of a breather against AMD and other rivals.
    They really need constant profits to keep their stock price in line and thats what matter most.

    Reply
  • Archibald - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    It is appears, that if one ignores the 1-10% performance increase(s), the dual-core is plenty for a casual power user (i.e. non-gamer). After all, the multi-core Si-HW is here, but the SW arena is a chaotic battlefield:
    ....Justin Rattner, an Intel Senior Fellow, recently promoted to take over Intel R&D has been quoted as saying that the clock wars of the past two decades will be replaced with ?core wars? over the next few decades. ?Intel & Microsoft are working feverishly on developing ?Concurrent Programming Languages? to effectively take advantage of the concurrent processor architectures that represent the future of the industry. ?Multicore processors require concurrent software:?The Free Lunch Is Over? (for software developers)., for more see this: http://tinyurl.com/62986h">http://tinyurl.com/62986h.

    I tend to favor AMD's approach with 780/790 and Brisbane, although marketing of this combo might be a challenge, from an engineering point of view it may be a decent (quite usable) design.

    Comment: Is the UI design of this blog from the Stone Age?
    Reply
  • derek85 - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    I think AMD just released the perfect CPU to go with their 780G platform for a HTPC:

    - Low cost
    - Lower power consumption
    - HT3 to boot graphics memory bandwidth for better performance
    - Multi-core horsepower for better encoding/decoding

    Phenom is much mightier than Athlon X2 when it comes to multimedia. Now there is just no more reason to choose a similarly priced K8 over this.
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    Wow "perfect"? Slower in gaming, check. Slower clock for clock than Intel check. Pehnom 9850 cost more than Q6600 check. lol Reply
  • derek85 - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - link

    If it's for a gaming PC I would agree ... but I think I said HTPC. Cheapset X3 is only $150, $50+ cheaper than a Q6600, and will do this job just fine with less heat and power consumption. Reply

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