A Plan of Attack

In our E6750 preview we demonstrated that the 1333MHz FSB basically offered no tangible performance improvement over previous 1066MHz chips. That fact, combined with Intel's aggressive pricing of 1333MHz FSB parts helped us do a little cleaning up in today's charts - let's look at the contenders.

Quad Core

The quad core lineup in today's review is straightforward, we've got Intel's four quad-core offerings (including the latest QX6850) and AMD's dual dual-core FX-74 setup:

 CPU Clock Speed FSB L2 Cache Pricing
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.00GHz 1333 4MBx2 $999
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93GHz 1066 4MBx2 $999
AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 3.0GHz HT 1MBx2 $599/pair
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz 1066 4MBx2 $530
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 1066 4MBx2 $266

Price-wise, the only AMD/Intel competition we have here is between the FX-74 and the Q6700. Do keep in mind that as the FX-74 is a dual-socket configuration, the motherboard is a bit more expensive than what you can use with any of the single-socket quad-core Intel solutions.

And you read right, $266 can get you four amazingly fast cores on a single chip with the Q6600 after July 22nd.

Dual Core

 CPU Clock Speed L2 Cache Pricing
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.00GHz 4MB $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 4MB $183
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz 1MBx2 $178
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 4MB $163
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2.8GHz 1MBx2 $157

Above $200, AMD has nothing to offer, so the E6850 actually ends up competing with other Intel offerings. Do you go with a dual core E6850 or a quad-core Q6600 for the same $266 price tag? Below $200 we have a couple of interesting matchups: the E6750 vs. the 6000+ and the E6550 vs. the 5600+.

We're working on a lower cost CPU comparison where we'll address the sub-$150 offerings from both camps.

The Laundry List

We're trying to answer the following questions today:

1) Does the 1333MHz FSB have any impact on quad-core performance?

2) Is AMD's Athlon 64 FX-74 competitive with Intel's cheaper Core 2 Quad Q6700?

3) At approximately $180, which is faster: AMD's Athlon 64 X2 6000+ or Intel's Core 2 Duo E6750?

4) At approximately $160, which is faster: AMD's Athlon 64 X2 5600+ or Intel's Core 2 Duo E6550?

5) For $266, should you buy a quad-core Core 2 Quad Q6600 or a dual-core Core 2 Duo E6850?

Let's get to it.

Test Configuration

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 (3.0GHz/1MBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0GHz/1MBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8GHz/1MBx2)
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3.00GHz/1333MHz)
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 (2.93GHz/1066MHz)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 (2.66GHz/1066MHz)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.40GHz/1066MHz)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 (3.00GHz/1333MHz)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz/1333MHz)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33GHz/1333MHz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R (Intel P35)
ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe (nForce 590 SLI)
Chipset: Intel P35
NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
Chipset Drivers: Intel 8.1.1.1010 (Intel)
Integrated Vista Drivers (NVIDIA)
Hard Disk: Seagate 7200.9 300GB SATA
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 158.18
Desktop Resolution: 1600 x 1200
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
Once More, With Feeling Do Four Cores Need a 1333MHz FSB?
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68 Comments

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  • mbf - Monday, July 23, 2007 - link

    I accidentally posted this in the comment section for the earlier article, but it seems to fit better here. Sadly I cannot delete the other comment...

    I've been wondering how older motherboards will work with the new FSB1333 processors. Specifically I'm interested how an ASUS P5W DH Deluxe without the latest BIOS would react to having e.g. an E6750 dropped in. ASUS claims support for FSB1333 processors for the P5W DH Deluxe as of 2205 beta.

    Would the system boot and run using a pre-2205 BIOS (although not at peak performance), so a BIOS upgrade can be performed? Or would the system fail to boot at all, like when the first Core 2 Duo processors surfaced and needed a BIOS upgrade to run at all on certain boards.

    The reason I ask this is that I've my eyes set specifically on that board (I have several reasons, ECC memory support being one of them). I had originally planned on getting an E6600 after the July 22 price cuts, but right now there's nearly no FSB1066 processor to be had locally. Also, I'd of course love to have a access to the latest processors in any case.
    Reply
  • number - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Marvelous article. However, one benchmark is missing. Quad core processor may be used in the following way: two cores are working on a job that utilizes them to the max, while remaining two run a game. How well the processors fare under this scenario? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - link

    Was the Q6600 compared to the E6850 at stock speed, and not with the boost from setting 1333 FSB? Is it really 10% faster in CS3 than the 3GHz E6850 (and therefore a lot quicker than my E6600)? And would similar improvements carry over to CS2, or did they improve multicore support in the transition from CS2 to CS3? Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Despite theoretical showings on paper, the 1333MHz FSB appears to do very little for performance even when feeding four of Intel's fastest cores.


    Maybe you should also add scores of 1066MHz FSB on the P965 rather than showing 1066FSB on P35 only. Your earlier tests with P35 have shown that there is performance improvement just by moving from P965 to the P35 chipset. Moving to P35 showed greater improvements than changing P35's supporting CPU from 1066FSB to 1333FSB.
    Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31822/135/">http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31822/135/ Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    (no edit button?)
    http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?p=...">http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?p=...
    Reply
  • scott967 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Seen various comments to "wait for G0" stepping coming out now or very soon. What stepping was used on this comparo and any comments on this stepping issue?

    scott s.
    .
    Reply
  • clairvoyant129 - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I love how all these AMD proponents claim that Intel motherboards are too expensive. Then they claim the difference can buy them a much better video card.

    There are tons of cheap Intel motherboards that are just as good as comparable AMD motherboards.

    These fanboys are pathetic. Whats the next excuse?
    Reply
  • mamisano - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    Curious, anyone find these new Intel CPUs in stock, and if so are the prices in line with what has been listed? Reply
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, July 16, 2007 - link

    I have to agree this was a superb article. Well thought out and logical in all repects. Answers all buying questions from various angles.
    Of course, IBM's 300GHz CPU perhaps may make all this irrelevant - heh
    http://www.newtechspy.com/articles06/crystalcomput...">http://www.newtechspy.com/articles06/crystalcomput...

    While I am at it, the article on 32 bit addressing was also very clear and informative explaining the 4GB "wall", and the 2GB/2GB split. I am sure many on the web will make reference this article in the future.

    And the first power supply review was the third in this triad of superior investigation by the AT crew. Those graphs showing the PSU voltage vs wattage load are simply the best insight I've ever seen in a PSU review anywhere. Also interesting was the fact the Silverstone was advertised as a single 12V rail, but was in fact 4 separate.

    AT seems to be reinvigorated for some reason - kudu's to you, top notch work.
    Reply

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