Is This Even Fair? Budget Ivy Bridge Takes On Core 2 Duo And Quad

Overclocking: 3D Game Performance

Further Overclocking: 3D Game Performance

We’ll leave most of the gaming analysis up to you, but we do have a few observations to point out along the way. While absolute minimum FPS is included, remember that those data points alone might not be accurate due to Fraps' reporting mechanism.

We were able to push the Core 2 Duo E8400 high enough to play Crysis 3’s most demanding levels at the lowest details, matching the frame rates of a 2.83 GHz Core 2 Quad. Meanwhile, the tweaked Q9550 caught up to our Core i5 control, at least until we bumped things up to Very High quality settings.

Oddly, the Core 2 Quad Q9550 fails to pick up any additional performance in F1 2012, despite 300 MHz-higher clocks and a boost in memory bandwidth.

The overclocked Q9550 just about catches Core i3-3225 in Far Cry 3, and surpasses it in Hitman: Absolution.

This Core 2 Duo E8400 has enough headroom to catch Core i3-3225 in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Interestingly, the old dual-core chip pulls into the lead once graphics quality is cranked up.

A maximum overclock on the E8400 was a necessity for smooth Ultimate-quality game play in the most CPU-demanding areas of Tomb Raider. Meanwhile, a tweaked Core 2 Quad surpasses Core i3-3225, although it still can't offer the sustained frame rates of a Core i5-3570K.

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    Top Comments
  • Wow! this is the review i am waiting from long time.Really good one for budget gamers.
    44
  • Tom's, this is the kind of articles we want to see! Not some BS car article, but real comparisons no other website has made...
    35
  • Excellent article, I'm glad I have a more accurate idea on where I stand based on CPU performance, I'm still using my trusty Q6600, G0 @ 3.2ghz. Its good that Tom's still hasn't forgotten that a lot of enthusiast still are rocking Core 2 architecture lol. I think I can manage until Intel releases their next revolutionary CPU.
    31
  • Other Comments
  • Wow! this is the review i am waiting from long time.Really good one for budget gamers.
    44
  • God dammit! Now I feel like I need to change my C2D E8400. >:(
    13
  • Now this is cool stuff.

    Also, amoralman, did you read this? It's basically assuring you that your C2D is still awesome as a budget processor.
    25
  • Very nice review! I've got a C2D E6600 (2.4 GHz) and had been considering the Core i5-3570K (or possibly wait for a Haswell i5) and was wondering about the performance differences. My CPU is still good for a lot of apps, but I can definitely see a reason to upgrade.
    13
  • pentium dual core G2020 is the minimum i can recommend to budget gamers. i often listed it in sub 450 gaming PC
    6
  • Excellent article, I'm glad I have a more accurate idea on where I stand based on CPU performance, I'm still using my trusty Q6600, G0 @ 3.2ghz. Its good that Tom's still hasn't forgotten that a lot of enthusiast still are rocking Core 2 architecture lol. I think I can manage until Intel releases their next revolutionary CPU.
    31
  • I been wanting to see one of these for a long time but never thought I get to see it. I just wish they had the good ol e2160, and q6600 thrown into the mix. I have the e2180 OC to 3ghz. It's still chugging along surprisingly enough, I just realized how old the thing was last night after thinking about how long I've had this build and looking up when the main components were produced. Safe to say I got my use out of that $70 cpu, did a 50% OC to it :) and it still had room to go but I wanted to keep the voltage very low.
    15
  • I've always been curious about how well my own Core 2 Duo P8800 (45nm & 2.66GHz) would stand up against modern ivy bridge offerings. And even though I'm talking about he mobile space, I'm guessing the gains would be comparable to those seen by their desktop counterparts. Each day I'm reminded more and more that I seriously need to move on to a newer system, especially since I work with a lot of media production software. Thanks for the article, it provided some interesting and useful insight.
    6
  • Kind of interesting that the old Core 2s beat the I5 in tombrader with TressFX on.
    Also holy crap on 1.45 vcore on the C2D
    8
  • I would not have predicted this. Not to this extent. I hope we can make these broader comparisons across years more frequently after this. I predict this will be a very popular article.
    19
  • Remember the Pentium Dual-Core E6500K... They should have included that and overclocked it.
    4
  • Wow. This article could have popped up at a better time. Was considering upgrading my ageing E6600 for a higher end supported processor. Was thinking of getting a core 2 extreme QX6800 off ebay for around 130ish. I looked on cpu benchmark and it really isn't that much faster than the Pentium in this article. That is insance considering that cpu cost aroun 1k on release. I am now reconsidering and just holding off on extending my lga775's lifespan and just replacing it with a new platform in the near future.

    I find it shocking that my E6600(which I still hold in high regard, is far far worse than a 50 dollar Celeron. My mind is blown.
    10
  • Great article thanks!
    5
  • Old processors still have some kick in them. Q9000, Q6600, E8600, Athlon II X4, Phenom II's all still have enough grunt in them to game a little while yet, the quads should be fine for another year or two.
    11
  • Tom's, this is the kind of articles we want to see! Not some BS car article, but real comparisons no other website has made...
    35
  • If you're happy with the performance level that your 5-year-old dualcore gives, there's no need to upgrade or build a new system. I'm happy with this 4-year-old dualcore right now and my Pentium 4 Northwood SINGLE CORE was more than enough for web browsing and some YouTube videos but all that's left now of it is the processor. I miss that boring beige case.

    That said, today's quads have a more efficient and better architecture than those of yesteryear, and the 3570K is a popular choice for enthusiasts.
    6
  • The 3570K is the new E8400. Less headroom, but the usage and reception are similar.
    4
  • what no 2500K?

    :)
    -2
  • basically, this is saying that the P4m architecture which lead to the core2duo and by extension then the core i series was the pinnacle of cpu innovation.

    intel made all their leaps forward with this architecture, and killed AMD in the process. And has never really moved past it... 6 years on and it still stands toe to toe with the latest and greatest.

    I'm not that surprised really.
    4
  • SteelwingVery nice review! I've got a C2D E6600 (2.4 GHz) and had been considering the Core i5-3570K (or possibly wait for a Haswell i5) and was wondering about the performance differences. My CPU is still good for a lot of apps, but I can definitely see a reason to upgrade.

    i have both and the 3570k is significantly faster than an e6600, i always had problems with the e6600 not being fast enough for my taste, its a night and day difference between the 2
    3