Initial Thoughts and Recommendations

Although the release of Core 2 Duo E8000-series Wolfdale processors will never be as groundbreaking as the Conroe launch during the summer of 2006, Intel has done a fine job of building upon their already enormously successful Core 2 platform. Reductions in power consumption, improvements in energy efficiency (especially at idle), and the amazing overclocking capacity of these processor make them downright irresistible. Now that we've had a good chance to experience all that this new 45nm process has to offer, we will be hard pressed to buy anything else. Without a doubt, Intel has re-proclaimed their dominance in the marketplace of technology.

One of the most popular uses for processors of this caliber is 3D gaming. If excellent performance is already possible when running at default speeds, just imagine the stunning frame rates displayed when overclocking to 4GHz and beyond on air-cooling alone. (Ed: Assuming you have the GPUs to back that up, naturally.) Never before has achieving these levels of overclocks been so easy. However, don't become tempted by the incredible range of core voltage selections your premium motherboard offers; it's important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

These processors are built on a new 45nm High-K process that invariably makes them predisposed to accelerated degradation when subjected to the same voltages used with last-generation's 65nm offerings. Although we certainly support overclocking as an easy and inexpensive means of improving overall system performance, we also advocate the appropriate use of self-restraint when it comes to choosing a final CPU voltage. Pushing 0.1V more Vcore through a processor for that last 50MHz does not make a lot of sense when you think about it.



More than a couple Penryn dies will comfortably fit on a single 300mm wafer used in the manufacturing of these processors.

Perhaps even more exciting than the prospect of assembling a game rig is the potential these processors possess for use in the HTPC arena. Some of our initial tinkering has allowed us to realize the hope of creating a complete home entertainment solution capable of full-load operation at less than 90W power draw from the wall. With the recent availability and - dare we say it? - affordability of Blu-ray drives in the US, the prospect of putting together an all-in-one multimedia powerhouse that runs both cool and silent is finally becoming a reality. Of the models soon to hit the shelves, the E8200 at 2.66GHz or E8300 at 2.83GHz are sure to be winners when looking for processors suited for just these types of low-power applications. Couple this with an Intel G35 chipset with integrated graphics, Clear View Technology, and onboard HD audio over HDMI and you have all the makings of a serious HTPC.

Intel has also worked hard to make all of this performance affordable. Many US retailers now stock the 65nm Q6600 quad-core CPU at less than $200, which places it squarely in the 45nm dual-core price range - something to think about as you make your next purchasing decision. However, if it comes down to the choice between a 65nm and 45nm CPU we would pick the latter every time - they are just that good. The only question now is exactly when Intel will decide to start shipping in volume.

The Truth About Processor "Degradation"
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  • chizow - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    Only had an issue with this statement:

    quote:

    Intel has also worked hard to make all of this performance affordable. Many US retailers now stock the 65nm Q6600 quad-core CPU at less than $200, which places it squarely in the 45nm dual-core price range - something to think about as you make your next purchasing decision. However, if it comes down to the choice between a 65nm and 45nm CPU we would pick the latter every time - they are just that good. The only question now is exactly when Intel will decide to start shipping in volume.


    While this may be true for those building a new system around a new CPU, this might not hold true for those looking to overclock using an existing board. These 45nm CPUs with their higher stock 1333 FSB will by necessity use lower multipliers which essentially eats into potential FSB overclocks on FSB-limited chipsets. Considering many 6-series NV chipsets and boards will not support Penryn *at all* this is a very real consideration for those looking to upgrade to something faster.

    Given my experiences with NV 6-series chipsets compared to reviews, I'm not overly optimistic about Penryn results on the 7-series either. Curious as to which board you tested these 45nm with? I haven't kept up with P35/X38 capabilities but the SS you showed had you dropping the multiplier which is a feature I thought was limited to NV chipsets? I might have missed it in the article, but clarification would be appreciated.

    Reply
  • TheJian - Thursday, March 6, 2008 - link

    I have a problem with this part of that statement "Intel has also worked hard to make all of this performance affordable." They forget it was AMD who forced Intel to cut margins on cpus from 62% (I think that was their high a few years back) to a meager 48% (if memory serves) and their profits to tank 60% in some quarters while driving AMD into the ground. Do they think they were doing it for our sakes? NOT. It was to kill AMD (and it worked). WE just got LUCKY.

    How much INTEL butt kissing can you do in one article? Notice that since AMD has sucked Intel is starting to make an ABOUT FACE on pricing. Server chips saw an increase of 20% about a month ago or so (it was written about everywhere). Now we see the E8400 which was $209 on newegg just a few weeks ago and IN STOCK, is said to go for $250 if you believe Anandtech. Even newegg has their future chips when they come back in stock now priced at $239. That's a $30 increase! What is that 14% or so? I missed the first E8400's and thought it would go down, instead Intel restricts volume and causes a price hike to soak us since AMD sucks now. I hope AMD puts out a decent chip shortly (phenom 3ghz would be a good start) so we can stop the price hikes.

    What's funny to me is the reviewers let Intel get away with pricing in a review that comes nowhere near what it ACTUALLY debuts for. They've done the same for Nvidia also (not just anand, but others as well). The cards always end up being $50 more than MSRP. Which screws competitors because we all wait for said cheap cpu/gpu and end up not buying a very good alternative at the time (on the basis of false pricing from Intel/Nvidia). They should just start saying in reviews, "but expect $50 more upon debut than they say because they always LIE to get you to not buy the competitors product". That would at least be more accurate. For the record I just bought an 8800GT and will buy a wolfdate in a few weeks :) My problem here is the reviewers not calling them out on this crap. Why is that?
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    Yes you are right that the higher default FSB works against them, it would be better if a Pentium or Celeron 45nm started with lower FSB so the chipsets had enough headroom for good overclock.

    NV is not the only one that can drop the multiplier, I've not tried it on X38 but have on P35 and see no reason why a motherboard manufacturer would drop such a desirable feature unless the board simply was barren of o'c features, something with OEM limited bios perhaps.
    Reply
  • Psynaut - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    It took me a minute to figure out that they were talking about the chips that were released 6-8 weeks ago. Reply
  • squito - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    Same here ... maybe they need to be reintroduced? Reply
  • Johnbear007 - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    Where in the U.S. do you see a Q6600 for under 200$???? I still see it at 245$ at newegg and your own anandtechshopping search doesn't come anywhere near the pricepoint you mention. Reply
  • XtAzY - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    If you take a look at Hot Deals last month, you could have gotten a q6700 for $80

    http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1032017513&...">http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1032017513&...

    but of course it's already over
    Reply
  • smithkt - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    That was for the e6700 not the q6700 Reply
  • firewolfsm - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    With core 2s, you can always do a minor frequency overclock while actually undervolting it. With a decent cooler, it could even last longer than stock. Reply
  • ap90033 - Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - link

    Is it me or was this a little to negative on the OC stuff? I mean really, if you have good cooling, keep the voltage 1.44 or lower I bet the CPU would last 2-3 years or more...

    It almost sounds like they are marketing for Intel, "Great Overclokcer" but wait dont OC just get the highest model or it will only last 10 minutes!
    Reply

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