It's been a few months since we last reviewed a new processor, but with July's release of Intel's Core 2 desktop processors, there has been massive price cuts and reshuffling to Intel's older Pentium D 900 series dual-core CPU offerings as well as AMD's Athlon 64 X2 lineup. To better understand how they rank today along with the Core 2 series, we rounded up almost all available dual-core processors comprising of no less than 16 processors from the mainstream to the enthusiast class to form this article. Although dual-core processors for consumers only debuted just over a year ago, by this year in 2006, dual-core processors have become the de facto standard for most mainstream computers and upwards, leaving the single-core processor offerings truly for the low-end and budget needs. That's how fast processors have evolved with up to twice the performance envelope of single-core variants and being produced in massive volumes to sustain the reasonable price points that they now offer.
Many have barely embraced dual-core computing but already next month, Intel is launching quad-core processors and we've even been given privilege to have first-hand experience on its performance during the recently held Intel Developer Forum Fall 2006. While we already have been having them in our lab for a while now, we'll share with you more about that at a more appropriate time frame when it is officially made available. For now, what we can say is that the entry of quad-core processors would only affect the buying decisions of enthusiasts willing to fork out US$1,000 as it will only be offered in one speed grade till much later in 2007 when mainstream variants of it are expected. Therefore, you can expect much of what's offered today (processor variety and price) to remain quite similar for some time to come even after the availability of quad-core processors (unless of course there are further price revisions from both Intel and AMD to heat up the already intense competition).
Below, we share with you the variety of dual-core processors compared in this article, key specs and any updates since our last coverage of them.
The darling of Intel and the comeback processor that lived up to the hype, we've shared much about their new Core 2 desktop processors in our previous articles. Since they are still relatively new, nothing much has changed about them and we'll leave you with the following table that sums them up in brief. From the price points, you can tell that these processors are aimed at mainstream performance computers and higher. Many enthusiasts and ourselves have been singing praises of how easily the low-end Core 2 Duo E6300 model can overclock to hit levels exceeding the Extreme model, but the interesting bit would be how the E6300 stacks up at stock performance levels to the existing processor mix from AMD and Intel. So for the rest of you not into overclocking, keep your eye out on it in our performance graphs. Of the Core 2 processor models available, there's just one that we were unfortunately not able to get our hands on and this is the E6400 model. Once we get hold of one, we'll be sure to update this article.
|Processor Model / Processor Characteristics||Clock Speed||L2 Cache||Front Side Bus (MHz)||Max TDP (W)||Estimated Price (US$)|
|Core 2 Extreme X6800||2.93GHz||4MB||1066||75||$999|
|Core 2 Duo E6700||2.67GHz||4MB||1066||65||$530|
|Core 2 Duo E6600||2.40GHz||4MB||1066||65||$315|
|Core 2 Duo E6400||2.13GHz||2MB||1066||65||$220|
|Core 2 Duo E6300||1.86GHz||2MB||1066||65||$180|