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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  • yiranhu - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    9X multiplier!!! Now there's absolutely no point in buying the 6300/6400!!
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Unless of course, you're going the budget CPU server route, and need virtualization. For example, using Xen, in order to run Windows in a domU (VM), you need VT.
  • yehuda - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link


    Who else should be concerned with the lack of VT support?

    If I run emulators locally (my personal experience includes bochs, qemu and DOSBox), is there anything I would lose going with the E4300?

  • Yoshi911 - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    I think that with a 3ghz Opty144, My next upgrade will be to a Opty165 that I can run at 3ghz...2mb cache and dual core, good for gaming still.. all I'll ever need...

    SPEND YOUR MONEY ON VIDEO CARD UPGRADES AND RAM!!! if you don't have 2gb's ram and a nice video card... DONT EVEN THINK about upgrading platforms.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    And if you don't have 2GB of RAM, don't even think about spending the money on 2x1GB DDR-400! As for me, I have an Opty 165 that tops out at around 2.6GHz with a Scythe Ninja cooler, so you'll be lucky to get 3.0GHz. Even if you do get 3.0GHz, a Core 2 E4300 overclocked to 3.5GHz+ (remember we're talking stock cooler in this article) would beat it for performance. Now, if you have 2GB of DDR and a decent CPU and you are mostly worried about games, then the GPU is the bigger issue. If you don't have any of those things and need to upgrade, you'll be best getting Core 2 with DDR2 and a fast GPU, rather than X2/Opteron and DDR/DDR2 and a fast GPU.
  • Yoshi911 - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Yeah but we're talking about cost effective performance for games... 90fps vs 190fps is going to look very little difference.. the next upgrade any gamer should be thinking about should be a DX10 compatable system.
  • Doh! - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Why hasn't yet Intel released this cpu for the consumer in the US? This cpu has been widely available since Jan. 5 in Korea. Isn't the US usuually the first place for a new cpu launch?
  • deathwalker - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    Very nice reiview and the introduction of a true bargin in CPU's. Alas though..once again us SFF builders(I have a microfly case) are out in the cold since nearly all the Matx C2D motherboards are "crap" overclockers. This is not the place for it..but I will none the less rant on the Mobo builders for not making an honest effort to give us a decent C2D product. By decent, I mean something that will run well at setting other than stock out the box defaults. Nice job AT..this article give hope to builders on a budget.
  • tayhimself - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    -sigh- i complained of this after ATs informative review on uATX cases asking if anyone knew any uATX 965 boards that would OC decently (350 FSB even). Too bad I got no respnoses then either.
  • Goty - Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure the price difference here is quite enough to pull anyone away from the E6300 (or the E6320 when it hits the market). It's only $50 cheaper on average, but you lose the faster FSB of the E6300 and I've seen a lot of E6300s overclock a lot better than this chip.

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