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Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16 GHz Dual Core)

Dual-Core Versus Quad-Core: Part 2
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Intel’s Core 2 Duo has been available for two years now. When it first made its debut in 2006, it kicked the Athlon 64 X2 from the top, and it hasn’t given up the top position since that day. The introduction of the first Core 2 Quad resembled a product that combined two dual core dies, connected via the Front Side Bus.

The latest Core 2 Duo family, called the E7000 and E8000, is based on the 45 nm process, and delivers even better performance at reduced power consumption—it represents the most efficient processor choice available today. The Core 2 Quad Q9000 series is again based on two of these chips, but it doesn’t provide the same power efficiency as the dual cores. This is because of higher idle and maximum power, which doesn’t translate into equivalent performance gains due to applications not being optimized for more cores, or not being able to capitalize on the extra processing power. The Phenom X4, which we used for this article, suffers from the same issues.

Core 2 Duo Models

The best Core 2 Duo model currently is the E8400, which offers the best price performance ratio, but Intel has a total of eight 45 nm processors ranging from 3.33 GHz, FSB1333 bus speed and 6 MB L2 cache (Core 2 Duo E8600) to 2.53 GHz with 3 MB L2 cache and FSB1066 speed (E7200). Since the cost difference is small compared to the 65 nm generation (E4000 and E6000 series), we recommend going for a 45 nm model in any case, as these deliver better performance with lower power requirements.

Wolfdale Offers Best Performance per Clock

When you go back to the second page, where I listed related articles and article recommendations, you will find multiple analysis pieces that show the leading efficiency of the current Core 2 Duo generation. After years of following the wrong direction with the Pentium 4 and the Pentium D—where clock speed was all that mattered—Intel corrected its mistakes and found itself back on top. We used the lead model Core 2 Duo E8500, which is based on the Wolfdale core with its massive 6 MB L2 cache. Since these processors are capable of providing the best level of performance per clock, Intel has a double advantage over the Phenom X4 9350e: it offers 58% faster clock speed and more performance per clock. As you will see in the benchmark section, this is sufficient to let Intel win most of the benchmarks, despite the higher theoretical computing power of the four-core AMD processor.

Better Efficiency than AMD

We already made clear on the AMD Phenom evaluation page that the efficiency difference between the dual core Core 2 and the quad core Phenom X4 should not be looked at as a general advantage for Intel, nor a general disadvantage for AMD. Fewer processing units will result in less total power consumption, just like more units can provide better overall performance at decreased efficiency. Intel is in the lucky position of having multiple advantages: faster architecture, a more advanced manufacturing process and faster clock speeds (both for dual and quad cores). Let’s look at the results.

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  • 19 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:46 AM
    one thing that the authors forget that a typical use for a computer isn't just decompressing, surfing or gaming. The typical use is decompressing AND surfing AND using a resource hog like Skype AT THE SAME TIME! Oh, did I hear BitTorrent or multiple YouTube flash videos? How about them fancy Flash Ads, about 3 of them in every one of those 20-30 open tabs in the browser? Why don't you compare a quad core and a dual core in such an environment for general performance and responsiveness?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:47 AM
    Maybe in Windows the time of the Quad core or even the Duo core hasn't arrived yet, but in Linux the multicore processors have been supported for a lot longer and I wouldn't be surprised if you find many more apps in Linux that are natively multithreaded. How about rerunning your comparison in Linux and see who's the winner there where neither processor has the advantage. Both are well supported in Linux where as many of the tests in Windows lopsidedly tainted toward Intel products. In other words, try a scenario where the processors are treated equally by the testing software.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    nachowarrior , September 4, 2008 6:29 AM
    good work on getting the benchmarks out. but a better comparison would be amd quad vs amd dual. due to the fact that amd has the only real quad core. I think most if not all of us know that most apps aren't ready to scale well up to a full quad proc. keep in mind that amd has four ACTUAL cores on their procs, not two logiced out to four as intel does. Get programs that are fully optimized to run on four acutal cores, the benchmarks will change quite a bit. I honestly don't recommend a quad core to anyone for the price at this point in time unless they plan on keeping their computer upwards of at least 4 years due to the fact that software takes too long to catch up to hardware. Multi core scaling on the software side just isn't there yet. Look to amd's dual core offerings for a good price/performance ratio at this point in time.

    but none the less... it's good to have some charts at this current point in time. thanks for the time put on the benchies... i'll click a sponsor or something. :-p
  • 4 Hide
    ahmshaegar , September 4, 2008 6:34 AM
    Just wondering if there's a little error on the game benchmarks page... the graph for Supreme Commander and the text don't seem to agree.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 6:38 AM
    little nit @ second last paragraph:

    "are all examples showing that a 2.0 GHz quad core can certainly beat a sophisticated 3.16 GHz quad core"

    should be 3.16 GHz dual core.
  • 2 Hide
    Legless Ethiopian , September 4, 2008 6:57 AM
    The mainconcept analysis is wrong as well. Says the e8500 wins when it doesn't.
  • -7 Hide
    apache_lives , September 4, 2008 7:26 AM
    nachowarrior cut the AMD true quad core BS - 4 cores total wether it be attached or not, the performance speaks for its self, plus intel was smarter not to make one huge processor etc - same as ATi's 4870 x2 - you should know that fanboy.

    If you want to get technical lets compare Intel nehalem quad - no competition ;) 

    Sloppy editing alright - its making AMD look good! :o  LOL
  • 2 Hide
    Pukas71 , September 4, 2008 7:32 AM
    Good idea, but the article is such a mess. Never seen anything like that on Toms. It needs editing, and needs it now. Shame.
  • 1 Hide
    xx12amanxx , September 4, 2008 7:36 AM
    I still can not concieve why they are comparing a 3.0+ dual core to a 2.0ghz quad?

    What is the real point of this article?
  • 19 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:46 AM
    one thing that the authors forget that a typical use for a computer isn't just decompressing, surfing or gaming. The typical use is decompressing AND surfing AND using a resource hog like Skype AT THE SAME TIME! Oh, did I hear BitTorrent or multiple YouTube flash videos? How about them fancy Flash Ads, about 3 of them in every one of those 20-30 open tabs in the browser? Why don't you compare a quad core and a dual core in such an environment for general performance and responsiveness?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:47 AM
    Maybe in Windows the time of the Quad core or even the Duo core hasn't arrived yet, but in Linux the multicore processors have been supported for a lot longer and I wouldn't be surprised if you find many more apps in Linux that are natively multithreaded. How about rerunning your comparison in Linux and see who's the winner there where neither processor has the advantage. Both are well supported in Linux where as many of the tests in Windows lopsidedly tainted toward Intel products. In other words, try a scenario where the processors are treated equally by the testing software.
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , September 4, 2008 8:08 AM
    Thanks for the analysis catches, guys. They should have been, but weren't, caught during layout. I've adjusted the text to correctly reflect the benchmark results. Take care!
  • 2 Hide
    Mante , September 4, 2008 8:12 AM
    I don't know why, but i would like to see an amd x2 @ 3.0 ghz running around those task.... It's cheaper and im really happy with it. Nice Article.
  • 1 Hide
    ravenware , September 4, 2008 8:34 AM
    Quote:
    Intel’s fastest dual core processor.


    It appears that the author is referring to the e8500 in the above statement, this would be incorrect considering the e8600 has newer stepping and a higher clock rate.

    Quote:
    Supreme Commander shows the same results: it runs much faster on the Intel dual core than it does on AMD’s quad core. Since the performance difference is 80%, the clock speed difference alone isn’t enough to account for the tremendous difference.


    The chart shows otherwise, something maybe awry with the report.

    Quote:
    AMD Phenom X4 e9350


    Should be AMD Phenom X4 9350e , "e" is misplaced.

    Anyway, I would have liked to see what a Phenom 9950 and q6600 would have shown given the fact that their with in the same price point and would have shown the difference in efficiency and power.


  • 2 Hide
    amdfangirl , September 4, 2008 11:38 AM
    nachowarriorgood work on getting the benchmarks out. but a better comparison would be amd quad vs amd dual. due to the fact that amd has the only real quad core. I think most if not all of us know that most apps aren't ready to scale well up to a full quad proc. keep in mind that amd has four ACTUAL cores on their procs, not two logiced out to four as intel does. Get programs that are fully optimized to run on four acutal cores, the benchmarks will change quite a bit. I honestly don't recommend a quad core to anyone for the price at this point in time unless they plan on keeping their computer upwards of at least 4 years due to the fact that software takes too long to catch up to hardware. Multi core scaling on the software side just isn't there yet. Look to amd's dual core offerings for a good price/performance ratio at this point in time. but none the less... it's good to have some charts at this current point in time. thanks for the time put on the benchies... i'll click a sponsor or something. :-p


    Sure it would, but the point of this article is to compare relatively similar costing processors with similar TDPs as a quad vs dual. Plus given how AMD is losing in the performance race clock for clock it emphasis on quad-core beating dual in some applications.

    If it was AMD beating AMD everyone would be "so what?". Since it was (in some cases) AMD beating Intel, most go wow. The they compared the clockspeeds and wow. That really puts pressure on quad-core's performance. Great Work guys!=)
  • 3 Hide
    mitch074 , September 4, 2008 11:44 AM
    I have done some tests on my K8 X2. Moreover, I've taken some interest in Xvid development.
    - current Xvid code isn't multithreaded: it is purely single core! In fact, when I encode two videos in parallel, I get almost no speed impact from the second encoding upon the first. If you want to try a multithreaded Xvid encoder, you must compile the 1.2 CVS version.
    - I bet this benchmark uses Koepi's build of Xvid 1.1.3; as far as I know, he builds it against the Pentium Pro instruction set.
    - I compared Koepi's build compressing some video under Windows (32-bit) and one built directly on my K8, in Linux 64-bit + SSE2 compressing the same video: encoding speed went up by a factor of 2.5.
    - ever since most Xvid developers were hired by Miro to work on Miro's MPEG4 codec, Xvid development slowed down. Many developers got interested in x264 instead.

    In short, using Xvid to compare AMD and Intel processors isn't as good as it used to be. Either that, or since Xvid is one of the few very CPU-intensive benchmarks out there, you should try and build it yourselves for each platform - just to be sure. It would also be interesting to benchmark current CVS build, to see how it scales with more cores.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 11:59 AM
    agree with REappear. for hardcore multitaskers, like myself, the quad is clearly a winner. a couple of msn/skype windows AND 10+tabs AND running torrent AND playing Supreme Commander -its my favorite:) - on a 20x20+ map with 4-6 players does the performance hit. in this case, 2g of memory (supcom eats up between 1.3 and 1.8) and 2g of ram isn't enough anymore.

    and there is a low TDP quadcore from intel, my q6600, doing 9x266@1.008 :D . its a wicked thing to see a q6600 reaching only 43C on a prime test.

    AMD should put much more cache on their chips, in most of the benchs this is the reason why their CPU is so slow. oh, and efficient doesn't mean it should be this slow too.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 12:00 PM
    2g of memory and 2 cores... sry
  • 0 Hide
    sgtbaker420 , September 4, 2008 12:15 PM
    "One fact remains clear above all: our comparison has shown that the time for quad core processors just hasn’t arrived yet."

    Uhh...duh.
  • 1 Hide
    arkadi , September 4, 2008 12:26 PM
    I think it is appropriate to run mixed benchmark with multiple tests at the same time. The outcome can be surprising. Working on quad systems fells different than on dual core,quads much more responsive if you run multiple tasks at the same time.
  • 2 Hide
    badboy4dee , September 4, 2008 1:23 PM
    Good article and outcome as expected but I must agree when conducting tests we need to run multiple apps in conjunction for a true everyday experience. I would be interested in seeing how 2xquad cores fair on some NLE video editing apps like Premier & Vegas. Can we have some test ran on Linux? .... Please? Linux is becoming more and more popular to people so this would be refreshing to see. Don't worry bout the typo's we all make mistakes, it's no big deal. No worries, Keep on ROCKn THG!!

    The Silent Majority
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 1:38 PM
    I agree with REapper, a multi-tasking benchmark will shed much more light on real-world user concerns. I also wonder what the interest of power efficiency in desktop cores is? I know everyone wants to be green, but for most desktop users that I know, heat and power aren't that big of an issue.
    When it comes to multi-cpu workstations and clusters, heat IS a issue.
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