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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Specifications & test platform


Below you can find a short overview of the specifications. Notice that both Core and Core 2 run at significant lower clock frequencies compared to the previous Intel Pentium desktop models.

Madshrimps (c)

The Core 2 processors and 955 were installed on a Intel desktop mainboard, the D975XBX.

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The Intel? Desktop Board D975XBX is designed to deliver the best experience for advanced gamers and power-users. Based on the Intel? 975X Express Chipset and Intel? Pentium? processor Extreme Edition, this board delivers the ultimate performance for those seeking the most raw power. The Intel? Desktop Board D975XBX supports Intel? Viiv? technology∇ and comes with the software required to help meet Intel? Viiv? technology brand verification requirements.

  • Intel 975 X Chipset + ICH7R
  • Intel LGA 775 CPU support Including Core 2 (starting from revision 304)
  • 1066 & 800 Mhz fsb bus
  • One PCI Express 16x bus, with optional configuration of 2 x 8 graphics support
  • Intel High Definition Audio With 7.1 surround sound
  • Dolby PC entertainment Experience
  • Six PCI express 1x support
  • DDR2-667 / -533 support
  • 8 SATA ports
  • 8 Gb memory support with ECC capability
  • Advanced memory timing capability
  • Intel PRO/1000 LAN
  • More information

    Core 2 Motherboards: Intel Chipsets

    The Core 2 processors do work with the 975X chipset from Intel but it wasn?t actually for it and only late revisions (version 304 and beyond) support it officially. It is possible to modify an older board to support the new Core 2, but that's a very difficult process, we'll come back to that later in this article.

    Different motherboard manufacturers have announced their Core 2 compatible motherboards, either based on new revisions of the 975X or the new P965 chipset:

    DailyTech writes: Intel has officially introduced the new Core 2 supporting chipset?the P965 Express. Formerly known as Broadwater, the P965 Express features Intel Fast Memory Access and support for DDR2-800. Motherboards featuring P965 Express chipsets will come equipped with high definition audio and Intel Quiet System Technology which lowers system noise and heat levels.

    At Computex 2006 in June there were many Core 2 compatible motherboards on display. Among them:

    Based on new Intel 975X Chipset revision :

  • Asus P5W DH Deluxe
  • Abit AW9D-MAX
  • MSI 975X Platinum H V2.0

    Based on new Intel P965/G965 Chipset:

  • Asus P5B Deluxe
  • Epox EP-5P965 GLI
  • Epox EP-5P965+ GLI
  • Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6
  • Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4
  • Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
  • Abit AB9 Pro
  • DFI Infinity 965/G
  • MSI P965 NEO
  • MSI P965 Platinum
  • Albatron PXP965
  • Albatron PXG965
  • Biostar P965 Deluxe
  • ECS PX1
  • Foxconn P9657AA-8EKRS2
  • Intel DP965LT

    There are also some other older Intel Chipset which will be used for Core 2 boards by:

  • AsRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 (945P)
  • AsRock 775i65G R2.00 (865G)
  • Biostar 945P-A7A R8.0 (945P)
  • DFI Infinity 946PL/G (946PL)
  • Epox EP-5P945 GLI (945P)
  • GigaByte GA-946PL-S3 (946PL)

    Core 2 Motherboards: Other Chipsets

    Intel is not the only chipset manufacturer; others also want a piece of the pie. Chipsets that support the Conroe are:

  • nVidia nForce 5 Intel Edition
    - Asus P5N32-SLI SE
    - DFI LP UT C19SLI32-T2R/G

  • ATI RS600/RD600
    - DFI LP UT RD600-T2R/G
    - DFI Infinity CFX1150/G

  • VIA VT8237A
    - AsRock 775Dual-VSTA

  • SiS 662
    - DFI 662-TMG/G

    Some of the chipsets are already available right now while other will shortly be released, the nForce 5 Intel for example will be launched together with the Core 2. Early testing has revealed that some parts of the nForce 4 are being used. The real nForce 5 is estimated to be released Q1 2007. But these are only rumors and aren?t confirmed anywhere yet.

    Test setup

    Test Setup
    Madshrimps (c)
  • Intel Core Duo T2600
  • Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 955
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
  • Mainboard
  • Intel Desktop mainboard D975XBX
  • AOpen i975Xa-YDG
  • Memory 2 * 1024 Mb DDR2 PC7200 EPP OCZ
  • Connect 3D X1900XTX
  • Silverstone Zeus 750 Watt PSU
  • Nec 2050 DVD writer
  • Seagate 120 gig
  • 2x Seagate 200Gb SATA

  • Of course the memory and clock speeds have an influence on performance. Below you can see the settings we used:

    Madshrimps (c)

    On with the show, let?s start with some synthetic benchmarks ->
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