Intel Core 2 Performance, Overclocking, Power Usage Review

CPU by piotke @ 2006-07-14

The most anticipated CPU of the year is here! Intel has released the Core 2 which promises amazing performance at low watts. Does it live up to expectations? Find out in this review where we focus on overclocking, CPU scaling and power consumption.

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Madshrimps (c)

A couple of years ago AMD introduced the Athlon 64 as a successor to the Athlon XP product line. The fact that this chip could handle 64 bit instructions was new, but its most noticeable feature was the performance. Although it wasn?t running at very high clock speeds, it managed to outrun the competition. More instructions per Mhz and an integrated memory controller which reduced latencies made the Athlon 64 a very popular product, boosting AMDs popularity.

Intel went from the Pentium 3 to a Netburst Technology powered CPU design which allows for very high clock speeds but fewer instructions per Mhz, The Pentium 4 was born, later on it received an update with the Prescott core which unfortunately did not bring much new to the performance table. They relied on higher and higher clock speed increases to keep performance competitive with their closest rival AMD, but when they passed 3,4GHz and beyond the return of performance/clock speed was diminishing. When Dual Core was introduced to the masses Intel played short on the ball with their Pentium D series and soon all their desktop CPUs were Dual Core parts from the lowest 805D to the high end 965D clocked at 3.73Ghz.

While Intel was tinkering away at increasing the performance of their desktop CPUs, a smaller team of Intel engineers in Israel worked on mobile processors which needed to perform good and not consume a lot of power, they went back to the Pentium 3 design and came up with the Pentium M. This CPU was already quite promising but couldn?t match the desktop part in multimedia and global application benchmarks but it did shine in instructions per clock and low power usage. The Pentium M was quite popular with the enthusiasts out there and motherboard manufacturers didn?t wait too long to release desktop boards which accepted these mobile CPUs, low power consumption and excellent performance on the desktop was possible again with an Intel CPU. At the beginning of the 2006 Intel released the Core Duo CPU for mobile usage, but desktops boards were soon available which took advantage from these high IPC wonders.

I recently compared the Pentium M to a Core Duo here and found that the Core Duo is remarkably faster than the Pentium M, even at lower clock speeds!

Whether Intel got their idea from hardware enthusiasts or not, the product released today is but good news for the world, the Core 2 Duo is, as the name implies, the follow up of the Core Duo but now for the desktop. There have been quite a bit of performance previews of this new CPU, nicknamed ?Conroe?, on the World Wide Web and its performance has caused quite a stir.

Thanks to Intel Benelux I?m able to provide you with an in-depth look at the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors, with a special focus on Overclocking and Power Consumption. So I peddled over to Intel on my bike in the hot sun and picked up this material:

Madshrimps (c)

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (S775, 2,67GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme (S775, 2.93GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB)
  • Intel D975XBX, i975X Chipset ?Bad Axe? Motherboard

    I also tested these CPUs:

  • Intel Core Duo T2600 (S478, 2.16GHz, 667MHz FSB, 2MB)
  • Intel Pentium 4 D 955 EE Dual Core (S775, 3.46GHz, 1066MHz, 2x2MB)

    At the time of testing I had no AMD test setup available, however the Intel Pentium D 955 has been tested and compared to AMDs best by many, so in this review it will serve well as a comparison.

    Let?s take a closer look at the test setups and specifications of these parts ->
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