Does Cache Size Really Boost Performance?

Core 2 Duo Variants

Intel has a plethora of desktop processors on the market. While there are still some Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors around, the majority builds on the Core micro-architecture. We clearly recommend against purchasing any Pentium 4 or Pentium D processor, although their clock speeds of up to 3.8 GHz may look attractive. Any Core 2 processor at 2.2 GHz and up is capable of beating even the fastest Pentium D models (so does the Athlon 64 X2), because Core 2 offers much better performance per clock. Have a look at our CPU Charts to compare Pentium D and Core 2 Duo processors along with most AMD CPUs.

Thanks to its lower clock speed levels, Core 2 is more energy efficient. While the Pentium D 800 top models used to eat up to 130 W, only a Core 2 Extreme quad core can exceed 100 W. All dual-core processors are rated at 65 W. In addition, the idle power requirement of a Core 2 Duo processor is even lower, which is also due to the reduced idle clock speed (max. 1.2 GHz for Core 2 Duo/Quad versus 2.8 GHz for Pentium D/4 processors). The reduced power consumption is also made possible by improved transistor designs with reduced leakage current.

Right now, there are E and X models available. E represents the mainstream processors while X stands for Extreme Editions. A Q stands for a quad core, which Intel builds by putting two dual-core dies into one physical processor package. E6000 processors have 4 MB L2 cache if their model number is >E6400, or if it ends on -20 (e.g. E6320). Models ending on -00 (e.g. E6600) run at 266 MHz system clock speed (FSB1066), while the -50 parts (E6750) are specified for 333 MHz (FSB1333). The latter requires a P35 or X38 chipset and delivers marginally better performance. E4000 runs at 200 MHz system speed (FSB800) and only has 2 MB L2 cache. The 1 MB versions are being sold as Pentium Dual Core E2140, E2160 and E2180, running at 1.6 to 2.0 GHz. Apart from the name and some features that Intel disabled for the low-cost models, these Pentium Dual Cores are identical to Core 2 Duo devices.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Processor Number65 nmCacheClock SpeedFront Side BusVirtualization TechnologyTrusted Execution Technology
E68504 MB L23 GHz333 MHzXX
E67504 MB L22.66 GHz333 MHzXX
E67004 MB L22.66 GHz266 MHzXRow 2 - Cell 5
E66004 MB L22.40 GHz266 MHzXRow 3 - Cell 5
E65504 MB L22.33 GHz333 MHzXX
E65404 MB L22.33 GHz333 MHzXRow 5 - Cell 5
E64204 MB L22.13 GHz266 MHzXRow 6 - Cell 5
E64002 MB L22.13 GHz266 MHzXRow 7 - Cell 5
E63204 MB L21.86 GHz266 MHzXRow 8 - Cell 5
E63002 MB L21.86 GHz266 MHzXRow 9 - Cell 5
E46002 MB L22.40 GHz200 MHzRow 10 - Cell 4 Row 10 - Cell 5
E45002 MB L22.20 GHz200 MHzRow 11 - Cell 4 Row 11 - Cell 5
E44002 MB L22 GHz200 MHzRow 12 - Cell 4 Row 12 - Cell 5
E43002 MB L21.80 GHz200 MHzRow 13 - Cell 4 Row 13 - Cell 5
  • enzo matrix
    this is awesome
  • Mousemonkey
    9497347 said:
    this is awesome
    It's taken you two years for that? :p
  • HansVonOhain
    Great article. :D
  • I like, it was helpfull read. no one could addord core 2 duo's in 2007 now we can, I didnt see yourcomment in 2007 HansVonOhain.
  • I really loved this article.

    Thx "tomshardware" :)
  • Memory were all so cheap all of a suddenly
  • blueme
    Nice review!

    ~3 years ago I had the E8300 2.83 Ghz with 6MB cache for ~200$
    Now I have the E3200 with 1MB cache, overclocked at 2.88 for 20$

    The performance difference is negligible at best, especially considering the price. And although the E8400 doesn't cost that much, it's still around ~80$ used.
  • isidroco
    I disagree with the conclusion, CACHE size does NOT matter, most cases are with less than 10% (with a max of 15% in winrar) difference between 1mb and 4mb. 10% is too little to be noticed in real world applications, there is no difference in waiting 9 or 10 seconds...