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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  • Gary Key - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link


    ...that indeed you all get weekly checks from Intel for the favorable press.

    Damn, Intel must have lost my address. ;-)
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    This is just so sad, how far AMD fanboys will go. I really wish there was moderation allowed, here the user point system is hardly effective enough.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I'm pretty sure that was sarcasm, Coldpower. LOL :)
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Well, I guess my bad, though without a /sarcasm tag it's hard to tell. This is n't real life where you can here the tone of people's voices. :P
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    You were unable to tell "the Magic Money Fairy" was sarcasm?

    Why not just come clean and admit that you didn't read carefully.
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I read plenty carefully, thanks.
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link


    You were seriously unable to tell the following was sarcasm:

    "...you all get weekly checks from Intel"
    "...most Intel processors really don't even work at all"
    "...Intel pays off the companies to say they're Intel Inside"
    and of course
    "the Magic Money Fairy."?

    Dude, it's understandable that you were reading fast and thought the post was fanboy-ism, which there is indeed a lot of. Refusing to admit that and stating instead that the original (actually quite funny) post wasn't clear is insulting to that poster and frankly somewhat alarming.
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    Your taking this way to seriously, if I can't recognize without smiley faces or a tag that it is sarcasm, it's acceptable considering this is written language. I rely on the tone of the conversation, which is absent here.

    There is nothing to admit. There continues to be alot of AMD fanboyism at this site, even reading carefully, it sometimes isn't a simple task to deduce what is sarcasm from the rest of the fanboy drivel.

    I am not refusing to admit anything, the poster should have considered this before he made the post, that not everyone will be able to catch the sarcasm, I assume the poster would have thought about this, and I already said my bad in the above post. You may think the establish indicators are sufficient for you, for me they are not.

    Not everyone can percieve exactly the same things you can allright, and assuming otherwise is ridiculous in itself.
  • lewisc - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    lol - was a bit of a knee-jerk response, I thought the same thing until I read all the replies before, and then realised that it was indeed (hopefully!) sarcasm. You can't blame coldpower with the amount of rubbish being spouted by some users with how 'biased' this site is.
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Nice to see you get your own article again from time to time, reminds me of when I started visiting AT.

    The following deals with the gaming performance question most people are asking. I understand that the true focus of the article is 2m Cache vs. 4m Cache and the Overclocking impact. E6600 is still at the top of my list for a powerful new SFF thanks to the article. Regardless the article has prompted the following:

    (Maybe the following can be highlighted in a Budget/Midrange Gaming system buying guide...)

    I think it's undeniably clear that the Core 2 Duo Chips offer the most headroom for future GPUs and should therefore be at the top of most gamers’ lists if they can afford it.

    What I think some people may still find important is that with any of these amazing CPUs ... gaming is still GPU limited. It begs for the comparison of the E6300/E6400, the 3800/4200 X2, and 3500/3800 Single Cores. With a quality lower cost boards and single video cards like the 7950GX2 and 1900 XT. Do the lower end CPUs really limit gaming with a single card solution? I think the 7950 would also give a good showing as to if the new higher end and Dual Cores really needed for SLI, or if new new "low end" which used to be the high end are enough to keep that 7950 going. Most gamers I find at LANs still only run 1280x1024 without massive AA/AF simply due to the popularity of the cheep 17" and 19" sub 12ms LCDs. I also find a large number of gamers (who enjoy gaming but don't really spend much time enthusiastic about the hardware) don't ever turn on AA/AF.

    I'm not saying you didn't state that most games are still GPU bound. You clearly tell gamers clearly in the article that it's probably best to buy the E6300 with a high-end video card then a E6600 and a mid range video card. I just think that it needs to be shown.

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