Final Words

Every generation a ridiculously overclockable bargain chip is born, and the Core 2 Duo E4300 is just that chip. Although it's not yet launched, Intel has a true winner on its hands with the E4300. Last year we saw overall desktop performance redefined by the Core 2 lineup, and in 2007 it looks like Intel will begin changing what we've come to expect in the sub-$200 CPU market. What's even more impressive is that in another quarter, the E4300 will drop even further to $133. At these prices you can build a second or third system with some very strong performance, at a very reasonable price tag.

The best part of it all is that the E4300 is a no-compromise core; you end up losing VT support, but all of the performance elements are there. The 800MHz FSB isn't crippling enough to really hinder performance, and the smaller cache is more than acceptable for the vast majority of applications. The Core 2 Duo E4300 is no Celeron; if anything it's a spiritual successor to a long line of attractive, highly overclockable Intel CPUs. It's everything Intel's Pentium D 820 was, but with much higher performance and a much lower power envelope.

At default speeds, the E4300 isn't all that impressive in the grand scheme of things; it's effectively a slightly cheaper, slightly slower E6300. But much like the E6300, much of the appeal of the E4300 comes from overclocking - and overclock it does. Compared to other Core 2 CPUs, the E4300 doesn't set any new overclocking records but at the price it's a true bargain.

The change in base FSB speed also has advantages in overclocking, making it possible to use a linked (1:1 ratio) memory speed and still get extremely high overclocks without resorting to anything more than DDR2-800 memory. The E6300 has a 7x multiplier and a 266 MHz base bus speed, so without dropping to a 4:5 ratio and sticking with DDR2-800, the E6300 tops out at 7x400 or 2.8 GHz. With a 9x multiplier the E4300 can potentially reach as high as 9x400 or 3.6 GHz while keeping memory at or below DDR2-800. While it is possible to get bus speeds of P965 motherboards above 500 MHz, it is far more difficult and often requires more expensive component choices, making the E4300 the new king of budget overclocking. Throw in a more powerful CPU cooling setup, and we have no doubt it will be very easy to exceed our 3.37GHz overclock by a large margin.

At stock speeds, the E4300 ends up offering similar performance to the Athlon 64 X2 4200+. In SYSMark 2004SE, DivX and some games it's faster, and in other situations it's basically the same speed. The Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ends up being slower in every benchmark, but with a lower price it's still a reasonable choice. Obviously the Core 2 upgrade path is a bit more desirable these days than AMD's Socket-AM2 platform, so the E4300 gets the nod there, but you can't really go wrong with either chip at default settings. When overclocked things get a little more complicated, but the E4300 gets the recommendation as a 2.8 - 3.0GHz Athlon 64 still ends up being slower than a 3.38GHz Core 2.

Compared to Intel's other value offerings, mainly the existing Pentium D lineup, the decision is clear. With the E4300 at $163 and moving down to $133 by Q2, cheap no longer means NetBurst. Intel is planning on significantly ramping its dual core presence this year, and with the E4300 available as a part of the lineup we can see exactly how. If you're building a Vista system early this year and want to do it efficiently, Intel is going to make it even cheaper to do.

Power Consumption
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  • dubrov - Sunday, February 11, 2007 - link

    WHY IN ARTICLE PICTURE I SEE:

    VOLTAGE = 1.213 v

    WHILE THE TEXT BELOW THE PICTURE STATES:

    VOLTAGE = 1.468 V

    Which one is true?

    P.S. Bought E4300 yesterday - it DOES NOT POST on FSB > 325 MHz at a default voltage.
    Is it safe to raise the voltage up to 1.5 V (won't it burn the core2 before the temperature sensor reacts)?
    Reply
  • penga - Sunday, February 04, 2007 - link

    E4300 is the n1 competitor to the X2 EE SFF Series regarding power/performance-efficiency, so why would u not include at least an X2 3800 EE SFF or an 4000+ 65nm in ur tests? Reply
  • coolme - Friday, February 02, 2007 - link

    Overall, this is a great review. The really throughly explained the advantages, and the disadvantages of the E4300. (Basically an underclocked E6700 that's doesn't have virtualization, and E4400 will have a x10 multiplier) I just wanted to say thanks, and note a minor typo in the review.

    In page 7, power consumption the paragraph between the 2 charts "Overclocked, the E6300 uses a bit more power than the X6800 but that’s to be expected.". It's the E4300 that's overclocked, not E6300.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!
    Reply
  • lapierrem - Friday, January 19, 2007 - link

    I am surprised, that I have not yet seen a single one of these up on ebay yet.
    What gives? Release something awesome but don't actually put any stock out there...and make everyone wait and the price go up...
    Reply
  • Yongsta - Sunday, January 14, 2007 - link

    Looks good, can't wait I've been holding on my next upgrade for something like this. Initially I had a Celeron 300 ($100) which I overclocked to 500 mhz+ and outperformed P4 450 ($650). Next upgrade was both Barton 2500 ($90) overclocked to past Barton 3200 speeds & P4 2.4c ($170) at 3.6 ghz. All my purchases were best bang for the buck (including video cards in the past with hacks to enable disabled pipelines, etc) and in this chip it looks like I can get it again. Reply
  • aznskickass - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    The overclocked performance of the E4300 @ 3.37GHz looks very low IMO.

    Anandtech - are you sure the E4300 was not throttling at this point? I would assume 3.37GHz/1.475V on the stock HSF would get pretty hot, possibly hot enough to trigger CPU throttling.

    Reply
  • just4U - Saturday, January 13, 2007 - link

    Some one mentioned here that a 3Ghz C2D value chip will walk all over Amd's Budgit X2's running at 1.8- 2.0G.

    I sort of found that a rather odd comment to make. Many enthusiast's look at these chips for overclock potential so.. chances are you wouldnt be dealing with a stock X2 either.

    I kinda wish they had the 3800 overclocked as well so we could get a look at both of them and compare it on a more level playing field. Granted the C2D would still walk all over the amd chip but it would be interesting to see the results.

    Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Where is the clock for clock comparisons? E4300 @ same speed as like an E6400 (overclock both to like 3Ghz) and test. That will let us really see if it's worth spending the extra cash for the E6300/6400. Reply
  • harpoon84 - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    The E4300 is slightly faster than the X2 4200+ overall - go ahead, count how many the E4300 wins, and how many the X2 4200+ wins. The E4300 wins the count 8 - 3, although those numbers are a bit misleading as most of the time the margins between the chips are very close.

    In terms of price/performance, the $163 pricetag is justified, but I still prefer it at the Q2 price of $113! ;)
    Reply
  • Xcom1Cheetah - Thursday, January 11, 2007 - link

    Look pretty tempting but i think it is priced a little higher like

    Firstly it look like as is it a high end Core 2 Celeron (with lower FSB and half the cache BUT 2 cores). So it should be priced in between Celeron and Core 2 Territory.

    Secondly its performance overall at stock speed is between X2 3800+ and X2 4200+.. The 3800+ is going for 133 and 4200+ is for 169... (i m talking about newegg prices)

    So it should be priced like around US $150 at most in my view... and around 3800+ price to give AMD even more tough time.:) but not more than US $150 in any case.

    Just my view..
    Reply

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