Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 vs E6300: Budget CPU Comparison

CPU by massman @ 2007-08-10

Last year Intel gave us the Core 2 Duo, a competitively priced CPU with very acceptable prices for the low and mid-range. This year Intel introduced newer models from low to high end, we take a look at the new low priced E2160 model which has less L2 cache but higher multiplier and compare it with the low end part from last year, the E6300.

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Introduction & Test Setup


I have to admit: I was one of those people who wanted a C2D as fast as possible. Due to my student life, I didn't have the budget to buy myself the first series of the X6800, E6700 or even the E6600. No, I had to settle with the slowest of them all: E6300, running at 1862Mhz. As the lowest and thereby cheapest product of the first line of C2D chips, the E6300 is equipped with the same features like its bigger brothers, but it has only the half of L2 cache on board (2MB instead of 4MB).

Pretty soon it became clear that the E6300 was good enough for the budget gamers, but due to the multiplier limit to 7 and the lower cache, it never reached the same performance as a E6600 or higher. The maximum multiplier of 7 limits the overclockers among us, because at that time, no motherboard could do over 500Mhz FSB easily. With the breakthrough of Intel's I965 and the new P35 chipset, these CPUs now reach higher speeds, unthinkable when they were first released. But is the old low-end CPU still a good deal for the budget gamers?

As time passed by, Intel released more and more C2D models, all with different clock speeds, L2 caches and FSB speeds. These new low-end C2D chips, the E4300 and E2160, run stock at 200Mhz FSB instead of 266Mhz. To reach 1.8Ghz, they have a multiplier of 9, ideal for higher overclocks.

With help of Leon from Dollarshops I got my hands on a brand new E2160 and set out to compare its performance to the E6300. Both CPUs are still available in stores with prices for the E6300 ranging from €140~160, and from €80~100 for the E2160.

Madshrimps (c)

Specification Comparison

Madshrimps (c)

In the performance tests on the next pages you’ll find out if the lower CPU speed (-66Mhz) and lower L2 cache (-1Mb) will translate into a noticeable performance drop.

Test Setup and Test Methodology

Intel Test Setup

Madshrimps (c)
  • Intel Core 2 E6300
  • E2160
  • Cooling Stock Aluminum Intel Heatsink
    Mainboard DFI P965-S Dark
    Memory 2 * 512Mb PC5400 Corsair
  • NZXT Adamas Classic ATX Case
  • Zotac 7300GT Video Card
  • Tagan 480W PSU
  • Western Digital 320Gb SATA HDD

  • Comparing the performance at stock speed as well as overclocked, I increased the FSB high enough so that each CPU was running at 3Ghz, additionally I pushed the E2160 a bit further to 3.3Ghz. Do note that with the E2160 the memory was running slightly faster. Overclocking was done with the stock Intel heatsink which kept the CPUs running stable even at speeds over 3Ghz.

    Benchmarks Used:

  • SuperPi
  • Sisoft Sandra
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • Winrar
  • DIVX encoding
  • Futuremark PCMark05
  • Futuremark 3DMark2001SE
  • Prey
  • FEAR

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    Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/10
    For normal office apps and occasional gamers E2160 should do just fine with less heat. Nicely done, Massman
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/10
    For cheaper thrills, E2140 will even suffice. Would not go lower, you'll loose 64-bit compatibility, and might come in handy... one day
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/08/10
    Even for a budget system, it was too GPU limited for my taste.

    the HL2 engine is usually also a nice bench to run
    Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/10
    Budget CPU Comparison
    No where does it say budget system, does it?
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/10
    It's a CPU comparo
    GPU that was available by the test was used

    my current recommendation for budget GPU would be 8600GT at €99
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/08/10
    yes but the CPUs couldn't be properly tested because the FPS were limited by the GPU

    I wonder how Intel makes those CPUs, are they ones that have a partially damaged cache or a specific budget design?
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/10
    Originally Posted by Rutar View Post
    yes but the CPUs couldn't be properly tested because the FPS were limited by the GPU
    you want resolutions lower than 640x480 to proof what point?

    Games are not CPU dependent except for a few games where it's kinda more important, but still GPU mainly deciding how much FPS you get.

    With a faster video card we would still have tested at higher resolution, to make it "real world";

    HL2 engine might react well with CPU power, but it's worthless imho to know if HL2 runs at 150fps vs 160fps, if at higher IQ and resolution, with GPU bottleneck both systems run at 51 vs 52FPS.
    Comment from thorgal @ 2007/08/10
    Nice 1, Massie ! Quite impressive for a first review
    Comment from Zenphic @ 2007/08/11
    Originally Posted by jmke View Post
    For cheaper thrills, E2140 will even suffice. Would not go lower, you'll loose 64-bit compatibility, and might come in handy... one day
    The E2140 seems to get stuck at ~2.8 Ghz in overclocking though. Still decent, but for a dozen dollars more you can get more overclocking funness

    Very nice review too, I've been looking for more comparison reviews with the E2160.
    It might have been interesting to add a AMD processor in the test too
    Comment from Massman @ 2007/08/20
    Didn't see this one

    Thanks Thorgal und lazyman.

    The E2160 has really impressed me. I didn't really expect the cpu to be reaching the same perfomance level as a E6300 that easy.