$74 Gets You Faster than any Pentium 4 Ever Made

The Pentium E5300 is very similar in clock speed and cache size to some of the original Core 2 Duos that launched in the summer of 2006. You may recall that Intel offered both 2MB and 4MB L2 variants of the Core 2 at launch. The E6300 and E6400 both had a 2MB L2, while the E6600, E6700 and X6800 all had a 4MB L2.

The Pentium E5300 is based on the Wolfdale core, which is faster than the original Conroe based Core 2s - but it only has a 2MB L2 like the old E6400. The E6400 however ran at 2.16GHz, the E5300 runs at 2.60GHz. In other words, today’s $74 Pentium E5300 is faster than the original Core 2 Duo E6400.

But the comparison gets even more interesting. Remember that the E6400, at launch, was faster than even the fastest Pentium 4 - the dual core, four thread Pentium Extreme Edition 965 running at 3.73GHz. The charts below from my original Core 2 Duo review show just that:

Do you see where I’m going with this? While the data above is old, it shows that the E6400 was faster than the fastest Pentium 4 ever released. And the $74 E5300 is faster than the E6400, therefore the Pentium E5300 is faster than any Pentium 4 ever released.

Most people didn’t have 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Editions in their systems - they had lower clocked versions, in which case the E5300 should be even faster. If you had a 2.8GHz Pentium D, I’d expect the Pentium E5300 to be anywhere between 20 - 40% faster regardless of application. Mmm Moore’s Law.

The Test

Motherboard: Intel DX48BT2 (Intel X48)
MSI DKA790GX Platinum (AMD 790GX)
Chipset: Intel X48
Chipset Drivers: Intel (Intel)
AMD Catalyst 8.12
Hard Disk: Intel X25-M SSD (80GB)
Memory: G.Skill DDR2-800 2 x 2GB (4-4-4-12)
G.Skill DDR2-1066 2 x 2GB (5-5-5-15)
Qimonda DDR3-1066 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 280
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 180.43 (Vista64)
NVIDIA ForceWare 178.24 (Vista32)
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (for SYSMark)
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit


Index SYSMark 2007 Performance


View All Comments

  • just4U - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    I don't agree about intel being the clear choice, (enthusiast or otherwise)

    You have to factor in boards being used to. Chances are most that are looking for a bottom feeder budget build will be using integrated chipsets. The 780g/v brings so much more to the table over what we currently get from intel offerings..

    That was a key sticking point for me.. and I think it really makes the choice a hard one to make unless your brand loyal, or a overclocker looking for a cheap cpu based around a competent setup.
  • nubie - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    Depends on what you need, I went for a 650i motherboard with a single PCIe slot for an 8600GTS ( the 2ghz ram actually seems to help with the 128-bit bus). It was $40, and you can get that deal yourself.

    I doubt for $140 you can beat a 3.3-3.4 ghz core2 with an 8600GTS.
  • soydeedo - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Reply
  • Zaitsev - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    I was hoping to see a few words on OCing as well. I mean, having two cores disabled should yield some more headroom than the quad core parts, right? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    I didn't have time to test overclocking for this article but if there's enough demand we can definitely look at how the two compare. The E5300 has a good amount of headroom thanks to its 45nm process, I'd expect the standings to remain the same if not widen in favor of Intel.

    Take care,
  • cpeter38 - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    Please do OC the chip ...

  • crimson117 - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    OC results on these two budget CPUs would be great - but it'd be best if it were normalized somehow...

    1. Same price-class motherboards, around $100 or less to match the low-cost CPUs
    2. Same exact ram modules
    3. Same heatsink, or limit it to included stock heatsinks

    , and re-run just a few choice benchmarks.

    Would make for a great blog post :)
  • Viditor - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    While you're at it, you should unlock the other 2 cores as well...


  • johnsonx - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    I've read dozens of articles and posts claiming that you can unlock the extra core(s) in the new X2's and X3's, and exactly ZERO telling how to actually do it. Is this some sort of urban legend?
  • ssj4Gogeta - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Yes we'd definitely like to see OC results. I'm sure after OC'ing both chips to their max. gaming performance will be significantly better on the Intel part too. Reply

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