Intel’s Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors were announced two weeks ago with much fanfare from the hardware editors and the enthusiast community. Intel had brought a great-performing chip to the market that was faster than every processor currently available and was much cooler than its Pentium-D predecessor. Today, there were a slew of new desktops and workstation announced that use Intel’s new Core 2 processors for desktops, so let’s get started.
“Anandtech”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795 did a very complete and glowing review of the new Conroe chips, called Core 2 Duo. It looks like:
| CPU | Clock Speed | L2 Cache | Price |
| Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 | 2.93GHz | 4MB | $999 |
| Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 | 2.66GHz | 4MB | $530 |
| Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 | 2.40GHz | 4MB | $316 |
| Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 | 2.13GHz | 2MB | $224 |
| Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 | 1.86GHz | 2MB | $183 |
The main differnece between the Extreme and the regular Duo is the unlocked multiplier so you can go even higher on overclocking
The prices are very aggressive and AMD won’t have a technological answer until 2007, so it has lowered pricing, but it will be hard for them to be competitive at the high end with these chips. By the way, the sweetspot chip is definitely the 2.4GHz E6600 or 1.86GHz E6300 the with its very large 4MB cache and low pricing, plus it can overclock very well. The 4MB cache gives an average “3.5%”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=4 improvement with most of that gain coming from Xvid encoding. For games, the imporvement is more like 1-2%.
Also architecturally a big advantage for AMD has been the on-die memory controller, but with the new architecture in Conroe, it doesn’t “need”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=5 one.
One interesting note is that the “Woodcrest”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=6 chipsets haven’t shipped yet. These chipsets will boost FSB from 1066MHz to 1333MHz. The benchmarks show that this is another 2.4% improvement overall. It looks like Apple’s updated Intel Macs will use that chip, so they could be the machine to get for _both_ Mac and Windows folks.
The benchmarks for audio/video “encoding”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=12 are astounding, with the Intel Core 2 Duo being very, very fast
And with “games”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=15 you have the same flip flop and the result is even more lopsided than the chart because most games are graphics not CPU bound. With “CPU limited”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=17 games, the results are more like 22-55% performance improvements compared with the Athlon X2. Yikes!
Finally for “overclocking”:http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2795&p=18 there is lots of headroom since the Core2 uses 65nm process. 20% is pretty commong and with a fancy cooler like the Tuniq Tower, they got it the chip to 4GHz with the humble 2.4GHz E6600.