500 MHz FSB? Core 2 Duo Overtakes Core 2 Extreme

Conclusion : $999 Performance For $190!

Although we failed in our goal of hitting the FSB2000 milestone (500 MHz FSB clock), we still achieved excellent performance: the overclocked entry-level Core 2 Duo E6300 is indeed capable of outperforming Intel's current dual core top processor, the Core 2 Extreme X6800. It's 2 MB cache and 3.4 GHz versus 4 MB and 2.93 GHz, $190 versus $999. Any questions?

Of course it's possible to overclock the Core 2 Extreme X6800 as well, and you should be able to run at least 3.46 GHz; even 3.73 GHz is often possible.

There are two important conclusions that we draw from these results:

  1. Intel's processor manufacturing seems to have a lot of headroom. A lot. If AMD can reapply pressure on Intel, Core 2 Duo clock speeds could certainly be increased by a few hundred megahertz. We're sure that Intel's high clock speed experience with the Pentium 4's NetBurst architecture is paying off now.
  2. The fact that both the platform and the processor can be overclocked by so much - up to 50%, sometimes more - gives enthusiasts the option to purchase entry-level components and hit upper mainstream performance. Also, every current Socket 775 enthusiast motherboard can be upgraded with a quad core processor later on, which provides a great upgrade path. It has never been so attractive to purchase low-end.

The test system was based on a Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6, and reached an amazing 485 MHz FSB speed at stability sufficient for benchmarking. We recommend against running a system at these extreme settings in the long run, so as not to cut component lifetime down too much. Still, speeds above 400 MHz FSB clock are not a big deal these days, and are very reliable on enthusiast-class motherboards with decent DDR2 memory.

Despite all of this, the E6000 series is no longer our overclocking favorite, because a new model line is ready to launch soon: the E4000 series will come at similar clock speeds, but run at only FSB800 speed. Obviously, this makes these new processors much better overclocking candidates, as a Core 2 Duo E4300 at 1.8 GHz can reach even higher core clock speeds with less FSB stress.

Related Articles:
Can AMD'S 65 nm Core Fight Back?
Will Intel's Core Architecture Close the Technology Gap?
Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64
Overclocking Guide Part 1: Risks, Choices and Benefits
Overclocking Guide Part 2: Suggested Components and Settings
Cheap Thrills: Core 2 Duo E6400 Overclocked to 3.33 GHz
Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared

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