Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 - Effortless Overclocking


Scaling the Gigahertz Ladder the Easy Way

Scaling the Gigahertz Ladder the Easy Way

It's nearly a year since the Core microarchitecture was officially unveiled to the world and to-date Intel still has the lead (and by a large margin) in both the desktop and mobile market space with its Core 2 Duo and Quad series processors. These processors have exhibited such superiority that the originally launched desktop processor models, especially the Core 2 Duo E6600 and higher models, are significantly faster than the entire lineup of its competitor today. While AMD is still recovering from the strains of taking over ATI and doing its best to ramp up 65nm wafer fabrication for its processors, they have had some success as of recent times to offer lower power consuming processors to roughly match the thermals of Intel's current crop of processors, but they are still far from tackling the performance crown.

For performance enthusiasts, Intel is still the way to go and more so because of their extremely high overclocking margin. We've shown you first hand of what Intel's lowest and highest offerings of Core 2 Duo processors (E6300 and X6800 respectively) can do in our previous articles. You can read more about them in the Related Links section below. Today, we show you what the relatively newer E6420 model can achieve. But before we get to that, we'll throw in a little introduction for those uninitiated with this SKU.

Just a few months ago, Intel revitalized the E6300 (1.86GHz) and E6400 (2.13GHz) models which had 2MB of L2 cache each with the E6320 and E6420 models that have 4MB of L2 cache - at no extra cost. If you ask our opinion, Intel had either just masked away a defective portion of the silicon that happened to be cache or they've been artificially crippling the E6300 and E6400 processors all along because their transistor count and die-size is identical to their full fledged brothers like the E6600, E6700 and X6800 models that all posses 4MB of L2 cache. Whichever the case, the E6320 and E6420 models are welcomed news as they are direct replacements to their 2MB L2 predecessors.

Since we've shown you what the E6300 can achieve in a previous article and what's required to get you there, the E6320 has the same potential, but with better performance thanks to more L2 cache memory. Thus the spotlight for this article is the next model up, the Intel Core 2 Duo E6420. At less than US$30 price difference, this processor's overclocking appeal lies in its 8x CPU multiplier. At one notch higher than the E6320 processor, the E6420 has capability to hit similar overclocking levels, but with little or no voltage boosts and on a far lower FSB. Now that opens up the possibility of overclocking on many more rudimentary boards (which in a way offsets the cost of more overclocking capable boards combined with a lower-end E6320 processor). So what amazing numbers can we hit with the E6420? Read on!