Last year saw the most exciting changing of the guard with processors since the introduction of AMD’s K7 core in 1999. Thanks to very solid competition from AMD over the previous few years, Intel’s introduction of the Core 2 Duo lineup of processors meant much higher performance at very reasonable prices. In fact, the near-launch availability of Core 2 Duo E6400 and E6300 CPUs meant that for less than $300 you could get performance better than previous generation Extreme Edition and FX series processors.

After the initial Core 2 launch, we didn’t see too much more from Intel, other than the late-year release of Intel’s quad-core Kentsfield processors. Earlier this week Intel introduced its second quad-core part, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 priced at $851 for a slightly more affordable entry to the quad-core market. While we won’t see anything quite as interesting as the Core 2 launch for a while now, Intel isn’t remaining quiet this year when it comes to processor releases.

1333MHz FSB processors

Intel’s chipset and CPU release schedules are very tightly integrated, and 2007’s roadmap is no different. Intel has made a habit of releasing a new family of chipsets every year, and this year’s update in Q2 will mainly bring about support for the 1333MHz FSB.

CPU performance and more recently, the number of cores per chip, have gone up drastically in recent years; the slowest Core 2 processors are more powerful in many cases than the fastest of the Pentium 4 line. Despite the quick ramp in performance and number of cores, FSB bandwidth has remained stagnant. In Q2 Intel will introduce Core 2 models ending in the number 50 (e.g. Core 2 Duo E6850, E6750 and E6650) that take advantage of the 1333MHz FSB. Both 1066MHz and 1333MHz versions will coexist as the newer cores will only officially be supported on Intel’s upcoming x35 series of chipsets.

4MB L2 across the board for the 6000 series

Another significant update coming in Q2 is that the low end 6000 series Core 2 Duo processors will receive 4MB L2 caches like their more expensive brethren. Currently the E6300 and E6400 both have 2MB L2s, but both chips will be replaced by 4MB versions - the E6320 and E6420 respectively. Clock speeds and other details won’t change, but performance will obviously increase. The best part of it all is that pricing won’t change either, so if you’re contemplating buying an E6300 or E6400 you’d be better off waiting a quarter so you can get the extra cache for free.

Introducing the 4000 Series
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  • clairvoyant129 - Friday, January 12, 2007 - link

    Look again, the E4300 frags the X2 4200+
  • bob4432 - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    i just need to keep on saying to myself, i don't need to upgrade, i don't need to upgrade, i don't need to upgrade.......

    man, what a good time for people that are builing though, intel sure is putting as much of the smackdown on amd (currently running amd so i am not partial to either, just my wallet) as they can.

    when this thing drops to $133, it will be so tempting....hoping ddr2 will drop soon!!!!!
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    How far can you overclock the 4300 with a DDR motherboard, so I can use the 2GB I already have? With the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA LGA 775, which usually can get to 312 MhZ FSB, you should be able to get to 2.8 Ghz, which isn't too bad. Are there any better options out there that allow you to use DDR?
  • dm - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link">
  • Invader57 - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    I believe this article has the prices wrong. According to the recent Intel news release, the E4300 price will be reduced to $113 in Q2, when the E4400 is released at $133.
  • atenza - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Well, you're right! There's a mistake in the article.
  • docmilo - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    I bought a cheap mb/cpu combo to get into dual core some time ago. I currently am running an 805 Pentium D in an ECS board, RC410L/800-M. I run great overclocked to 3.4 ghz from stock 2.66. This chip is only at 533 fsb. CPU-Z shows the fsb at 1500 to get this speed. I think this testing should have been done on a mb with a max 800fsb since I believe this chip is for that type of mb.

    What kind of OC should I expect on an 800mhz fsb motherboard?
  • atenza - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Your mobo doesn't support Core 2 at all. Some improved voltage regulator is needed, having socket 775 is not enough.
  • GeekUSA - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Does anyone know where I can get the program that overclocks these beautiful chips?

    Thank You.
  • Toebot - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link">null

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