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
POST A COMMENT

137 Comments

View All Comments

  • mkruer - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Interesting enough once you go to 1600x1200 with all the bells and whistles on, the CPU is the least of your worries. Even the AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+ performs with in 10% of the highest Conroe. LOL Reply
  • cgrecu77 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    sadly anandtech looks like its following on tom hardware's path of intel biased reviews. Sure, the bias IS NOT blatant, but still.

    Obviously conroe is faster than amd (by ~20%) and overclocking proves nothing, both athlon and conroe have about the same room for overclocking and probably the performance difference will remain the same.

    The fact is that cost/performance definitely is on the amd side right now as the X2-3800 +mb + ram is probably more than 20% cheaper than the core and offers almost the same performance in games (most people care about that, I know I only look at gaming bechmarks). Not to mention that after going the dual core route I would definitely recommend people to NOT buy a dual core now, but stick with a single core 3700+ (or 3800 if the 3700 cannot be find anymore). For ~100$ with minimal overclocking and KEEPING your mb AND memory you will get similar performance in games (unless you ACTUALLY play at 800x600) with a much more expensive system from intel/amd. It only makes sense to buy conroe if you're going high end and you want the maximum performance you can get.

    Dual core is NOT worth it on a home computer. Anybody that says differently haa no clue.
    Reply
  • OcHungry - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I don’t get this review? is it about just overclocking conroe or is it about which platform gives you better price/performance?
    If it is about overclocking conroe, then why are there AMD CPU's listed?
    and why aren’t AMD's overclocked?
    If it is about overclocking and price performance, then why aren’t AMD's overclocked and why aint we considering the motherboards?
    Today you can buy a good "SLI" AM2 motherboard for less than $150 and A64 3800 x2 for $155 and overclock the hell of it. I have seen up to 3ghz easy.
    you can buy 2 cheap SLI cards ($85 each) and build a hell of a system.
    That is $450 for CPU+mobo+2SLI cards.
    Can E6300/6400 do that? NO. For one, you have to buy a $250 motherboard hoping Nvedia will release SLI drivers to Intel.
    I am very disappointed at Mr. Anand and this whole outfit.
    Mr. Anand, you know, there are AMD users that will question the merit and integrity of this article. Why are you doing this? why didn’t you show any AMD's overclocked? And why aren’t you giving the readers the total package? If it’s about overclocking low end conroe alone, the what are AMD’s doing there? And not overclocked? Is this article for stupid readers?
    I mean, I am not trying to offend reader’s intelligence, but this article sure does.
    Are you and AMD in some kind of friction? it sure seems that way?
    Reply
  • goinginstyle - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Dear OC-Sharikou,

    I noticed you have moved on without answering our objective points on the memory article. Let's recap, you were fired from Intel with cause, you are bitter because of it, and will take any opportunity to slam any positive results from Intel. You have an issue with Anand that you have never explained but it is obvious you are extremely jealous or maybe you have a crush on him and was upset he married someone else.

    quote:

    I don’t get this review? is it about just overclocking conroe or is it about which platform gives you better price/performance?


    Did you read the title and text? Do you have the ability to read 12 pages of written text or do the pretty graphs throw you off?

    quote:

    If it is about overclocking conroe, then why are there AMD CPU's listed?

    Please get up on your mother's lap and have her read you the story again. This time pay attention and put your bottle down.

    quote:

    If it is about overclocking and price performance, then why aren’t AMD's overclocked and why aint we considering the motherboards?

    See the above statement. Even if you overclocked the AMD cpu's and placed them on the space shuttle for launch they are not going to approach Conroe when overclocked also. Get over it, dude.

    quote:

    Today you can buy a good "SLI" AM2 motherboard for less than $150 and A64 3800 x2 for $155 and overclock the hell of it. I have seen up to 3ghz easy.
    you can buy 2 cheap SLI cards ($85 each) and build a hell of a system.
    That is $450 for CPU+mobo+2SLI cards.

    Good point, in a month or so you will be able to do the same with Conroe. The problem once again with your statement is that you have seen these overclocks. Since you do not actually own these processors then you have no idea what the hell you are spewing. Look in your diaper, that is the same crap you are spreading around here.

    quote:

    Can E6300/6400 do that? NO. For one, you have to buy a $250 motherboard hoping Nvedia will release SLI drivers to Intel.


    If you knew how to read, then you would know nvidia is launching Intel SLI boards under a $100 next month.

    quote:

    Mr. Anand, you know, there are AMD users that will question the merit and integrity of this article. Why are you doing this? why didn’t you show any AMD's overclocked? And why aren’t you giving the readers the total package? If it’s about overclocking low end conroe alone, the what are AMD’s doing there? And not overclocked? Is this article for stupid readers?


    I am a AMD user and I am ashamed of your comments. Read through Anand's previous AMD and P4 articles and you will understand how fair this site is unlike others. If he shows the AMD CPUs overclocked and they still do not perform as well as Conroe then what type of bulls&$! are you going to post. You already tried calculations yesterday that blew up in your face. You are consistent, consistently WRONG.

    quote:

    Are you and AMD in some kind of friction? it sure seems that way?

    How much does AMD pay you for your daily trash blog and to post this crap at AnandTech?

    In conclusion-
    Conroe owns AM2 - Get over It!
    Reply
  • jjunos - Thursday, July 27, 2006 - link

    LOL!!

    lol sorry, that was a great response!! haha

    I have to agree with the above poster....while I guess I'm a bit pro AMD, what I cant' stand is amd freaks bashing anand for his reviews. Do all you amd freaks really think that when K8L comes out, that he won't do just as many indepth reviews of that?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    As I stated in the review, the only AM2 CPUs (non EE/EE SFF, those will be looked at in a later article) we have on hand are a X2 5000+ and a FX-62. Overclocking either one of those is not representative of how a X2 3800+ overclocks, so it doesn't make sense to include those numbers as we're talking about overclocking on the low end. As I also mentioned in the review, most people are able to reach anywhere between 2.4 and 2.8GHz with their X2 3800+ CPUs without much effort, which we already happen to have numbers for in the review. What we didn't know prior to today was how the 2MB cache Conroes performed at higher clock speeds, this was the point of today's article.

    As far as your concerns about budget go, our article agrees with your point on motherboard cost. From the conclusion:

    "There are two potential concerns with building a budget Core 2 Duo system. The first is availability, and hopefully we will have a clear answer on that subject in the near future. The other is motherboard cost. The ASUS P5W-DH we used in this article is currently the best overclocking motherboard we've seen for the socket 775 platform, but at $250 it is anything but cheap. We have seen quite a few of the P965 motherboards that can also overclock the budget Core 2 chips to reasonable levels, with prices hovering much closer to $140. Unfortunately, none of those boards can support SLI or CrossFire at present."

    As far as I can tell, all of your issues were addressed in the review itself. Let me know if there's something I missed.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • jjunos - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    *sigh*

    Seriously guys. They already state this.

    quote:

    While we don't have any Socket-AM2 Athlon 64 X2 3800+ CPUs on hand (we will use a 4600+ and underclock it for our benchmarks), we do have performance results of the X2 4200+, 4600+ and FX-62 to give you an idea of where an overclocked X2 3800+ can get you performance-wise.


    True, I would have loved to have seen them have an overclocked 3800 directly for comparison, but really, I've seen all the articles I need to see on overclocking X2's. I don't think the point was to show AMD in a bad light, they were showing how the intels overclock. Looks good, but the AMD are just too cheap now to say no! :D
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    For the record, our OC results for E6300/E6400 are *very* conservative. Stock cooling means you should easily reach these results, and anyone that spends $30-$50 on an aftermarket cooler can surpass them without batting an eye. On AM2, it's all about core clock, with maybe a 5% difference from HTT/RAM settings. 2.6 GHz with a 3800+ is reasonable (though a bit iffy with stock HSF), so you can get 5000+ performance (which is shown). Throwing in better cooling *might* get 2.8 GHz, but even that is questionable without watercooling or phase. FX-62 on air can probably get 3.0-3.2 GHz, which is still going to be slower in most cases than E6300 OC.

    That said, X2 with less expensive motherboards is still viable, and I will be buying a couple chips for systems in the near future. If you have motherboards that support X2, it's even more attractive. Going from 939 3000+ to 939 4200+ for $189 is a tremendous upgrade, and you can OC to about 2.6-2.8 GHz. Is that *competitive*? Absolutely! Is it faster than what you can get with Core 2 if you're buying a new motherboard, RAM, and CPU? Nope, but then for many people it doesn't have to be. From page 6:

    quote:

    With the extremely low prices of AMD's X2 processors, the price/performance offered is still certainly competitive. In all of the general performance testing that we have presented here, an X2 3800+ or X2 4200+ (with or without overclocking) is by no means a slow processor. Core 2 Duo is faster, though at present we also have to conclude that Core 2 Duo motherboards are more expensive (with the exception of the ASRock board, though that has a few drawbacks). If you are looking for something right now and are looking to save money, socket AM2 has a lot of reasonable choices at very good prices. For the business user, you really can't go wrong with any of these chips.


    Take care,
    Jarred Walton
    Reply
  • bere - Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - link

    The 5000+ that U have there is a FSB200. U compare a FSB 200 with 370 FSB. Reply
  • jjunos - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Since apparently you're opinion defines the world, what exactly is dual core good for?

    Really, this amd fanboi crap has seriously gotten out of hand lately. I love amd. But the FUD that you guys have been spewing lately is just garbage. In games, the fastest cpu wins, true, but that won't be the case in the future (and even now there are games that take advantage of dual core). In normal usage? Hell yes does dual core matter! The biggest upgraded I've seen in the last 10 years on my home box was when I went from 1cpu to dual cpu.

    From day to day usage, other users on my computer, everything. I love it.

    Actually, when I started a new job and they only offered me a 1 cpu box, it killed me.

    Once you go dual core, you can't go back!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now