Intelís back. After playing second fiddle to AMDís Athlon 64/FX/X2 for the past couple of years, Intelís finally back on top of the CPU world thanks to the power of their new Core 2 processors. A few weeks ago we took a look at Intelís two highest-end Core 2 CPUs, the Core 2 Extreme X6800 and the Core 2 Duo E6700 and found both of them to be more than worthy competitors to AMDís latest CPUs, the Athlon 64 FX-62 and the Athlon 64 X2 5000+. In fact, the slower of the two CPUs, the Core 2 Duo E6700, outran AMDís more expensive flagship FX-62 in all of our tests.
Intel had been saying for months that Core 2 would take back the performance crown from AMD when it was released, but as everyone knows, itís PRís job to make bold claims when it comes to performance. Practically no one outside of Intel expected Core 2 to dominate AMDís high-end CPU lineup so thoroughly.
ďBut what about the lower-end Core 2 CPUs?Ē Thatís the million dollar question a lot of you asked after seeing the Core 2 Extreme benchmarks. After all, while itís always fun to read about $999 CPUs, not many of us have the budget to afford such a processor. Because of this, weíve been eager to get our hands on one of Intelís more affordable Core 2 processors. This is where the Core 2 E6400 comes in.
The Core 2 E6400 boasts many of the same key features found in Intelís more expensive Core 2 Duo CPUs Ė in fact itís built on the same manufacturing line Ė only Intel disables half the processorís cache and it runs at a lower clock speed: 2.13GHz. In comparison, the Core 2 Duo E6700 runs at 2.66GHz, while the Core 2 Extreme X6800 runs at 2.93GHz. With the smaller cache and slower speed the Core 2 Duo E6400 commands a significantly lower price, just $224 compared to the $999 price tag of the Core 2 Extreme X6800 and $530 price of the Duo E6700, making it a tempting alternative to the more expensive Core 2 CPUs. In fact we canít recall the last time a next-gen CPU launched with such affordable pricing.
With their dominance of the high-end market over, AMD quickly responded to the Core 2 threat by slashing CPU prices of their own. Whereas just a month ago the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ sold for $696, after cuts the price was reduced to $301. AMDís new pricing was clearly intended to battle Intelís Core 2 lineup. Hereís how the CPU market looks after this latest round of cuts:
Note that these are the prices that distributors pay in quantities of 1,000. This is not the same as street prices. Distributors like Ingram Micro ultimately sell PC components to retailers like Newegg and Zipzoomfly. These retailers then sell the parts directly to you and me, the public. Distributors can buy in quantities greater than 1,000 and pass those savings on to retailers, this is how street prices can fall below list prices. Weíre using AMD and Intelís official list prices to keep things simple.
|$150+ CPU Pricing as of 8/3/06|
|CPU||Clock Speed (GHz)||L2 Cache Size||Price|
|Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800||2.93||4MB||$999|
|AMD Athlon 64 FX-62||2.8||2 x 1MB||$827|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6700||2.66||4MB||$530|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6600||2.4||4MB||$316|
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+||2.6||2 x 512KB||$301|
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+||2.4||2 x 512KB||$240|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6400||2.13||2MB||$224|
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+||2.2||2 x 512KB||$187|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E6300||1.86||2MB||$183|
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+||2.0||2 x 512KB||$152|
As a result of the cuts, Intelís Core 2 Duo E6400 is pegged $16 below the X2 4600+. With this in mind, weíre eager to see how the E6400 stacks up against the 4600+Ö