Intel's Core 2 series sits at the top of both the performance and overclocking charts, its slowest E6300 adding a value price to the mix. Every step down in die process removes some amount of voltage tolerance; arbitrarily placing a 1.45 V limit on this 65 nm core increases the likelihood that it will last over a year rather than a few months or less.
2.6 GHz should be easily attainable using the stock cooler with most "overclockable" motherboards. Speeds exceeding 3.0 GHz might be possible at our "low" recommended voltage using recent core revisions and better-equipped boards.
We chose a price limit of $100 for low-cost motherboards and $150 for mid-priced parts.
Compared to midrange boards, low-cost versions typically lack not just some controllers, but some BIOS overclocking features as well. Our needs and budgetary restrictions make such selections especially challenging.
On the midrange front, there are so many good overclocking parts that familiarity may have been used to aid the decision. Unfortunately, this means that a few products may have been overlooked, but we're sure members of our Forumz will point these out...