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.

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  • getbush - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    There is a for that should be four and you start the oblivion page with will instead of we'll.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Thanks - I gave the document a final proofing now that I'm a bit more coherent and squashed several more "typos" (speech-recognition-os?) I helped Anand fill in a bunch of the text, but it was late and my eyes weren't cooperating. LOL
  • yacoub - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    What I see here is that the E6400 is easily the way to go for folks who aren't interested in overclocking but want the best bang-for-the-buck.

    For very little more $$ than the E6300, you get a chip that rides quite a bit higher up on the charts in many tests.

    Now the question: What affordable motherboard is recommended for stable, reliable non-overclocked C2D Conroe performance? Perhaps the Intel P965 board?

    There's no reason to drop $200-250 for a motherboard when you aren't going to utilize its overclocking functionality. I believe that opens up the user to the more affordable P965 boards, right? They tend to be more around $150 and if it's made by Intel it should be plenty stable, right?

    Also most boards now are passively-cooled which is excellent since the dinky fans on older motherboards were always noisy and died quickly. Avoiding those is another benefit as I believe the Intel P965 board is passively cooled as well.

  • anandtechrocks - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Check out the Gigabyte DS3. It uses the P965 chipset and costs ~$144. It overclocks just as well as the $250 Asus motherboard in this article and it uses very high quality solid capacitors. Only drawback is that no SLI or Crossfire.
  • yacoub - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I don't know, looks like there's some cause for concern about currently available 965 boards now...
  • anandtechrocks - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Very good article, I really enjoyed it. I think there is an error on page 4, on the 3rd graph from the bottom. The E6300 and E6400 bars are miss-labled.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Fixed - thanks.
  • code65536 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    How do the OC'ed chips do with power consumption. Does a 6400 @ 2.88 use more or less power than a 6800, for example?
  • supremelaw - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    ... and heat.

    I assume that the stock Intel HSF hasn't changed:


    and that a superior HSF with proper backing plate
    is still recommended for Conroe CPUs, even though
    they run cooler in general.

    Sincerely yours,
    /s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
    Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
  • houe - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link


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