Intel's New Core 2 Duo Processors Run Blazingly Fast in PC World Tests

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Power to Spare

Our motherboard Core 2 Duo test setup consisted of an Intel 975X Express board, 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, a pair of SATA hard drives configured in a striped array, and an nVidia GeForce 7800GT-based graphics card. We swapped first a 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 chip and then a 2.67-GHz Core 2 E6700 chip into that setup to generate scores we could compare directly to an otherwise identically configured system featuring AMD's new DDR2-capable AM2 platform and its top-of-the-line FX-62 processor.

Both of the Intel setups bested the AMD-based system on every test in our WorldBench 5 suite as well as on every one of our gaming tests (see chart below). The improvement on WorldBench 5's multitasking tests, which involve running a Web browsing session in Mozilla while encoding a file with Windows Media Encoder, was particularly dramatic. You'll also see notable gains in Photoshop and similar graphics applications.

Productivity Tests Gaming Tests1
TESTED SYSTEM CPU World-Bench 5 Multitasking (seconds) Adobe Premiere 6.5 (seconds) Adobe Photoshop 7.0.1 (seconds) Ahead Nero Express 6 (seconds) Doom 3 (fps) Far Cry (fps) Return to Castle Wolfenstein (fps)
Reference PC
Intel Core 2 Extreme PC 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 160 279 273 222 181 157 205 n/a
Intel Core 2 Duo PC 2.67-GHz Core 2 E6700 153 296 283 235 185 151 193 n/a
AMD Socket AM2 FX-62 PC 2.8-GHz Athlon 64 FX-62 137 362 308 274 187 123 145 n/a
Intel Pentium D 940 PC 3.2-GHz Pentium D 940 113 500 434 351 199 103 111 n/a
Out-of-Box Core 2 Duo PC
ABS Ultimate X92 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 181 252 239 189 152 208 269 313
CyberPower Gamer Infinity SLI Ultra 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 167 267 260 207 157 164 206 269
Dell XPS 7003 2.67-GHz Core 2 Duo E6700 153 297 300 221 185 140 180 241
Dell XPS 410 3 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo E6600 138 382 306 237 208 146 181 199
Velocity Micro Vector GX4 2.13-GHz Core 2 Duo E6400 117 385 344 277 468 91 128 173
Out-of-Box Comparison PC
Xi Mtower 64 AGL-SLI 2.6-GHz Athlon 64 FX-60 142 341 283 298 160 n/a n/a 156
Micro Express MicroFlex 34645 3.4-GHz Pentium 4 650 111 672 326 421 212 n/a n/a 140
Footnotes: 1Tests run at 1024 by 768, 32-bit color without anti-aliasing. fps = frames per second. 2This system was liquid-cooled and overclocked to 3.5-GHz. 3This system ran Windows XP Media Center Edition. 4This system had 1GB of RAM. 5This system ran Windows XP Home.
Chart notes: Reference PCs are systems built by the PC World Test Center using motherboards that support given processors and a common set of components; these PCs were configured with 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, a pair of SATA hard drives in a striped array, and an nVidia GeForce 7800GT-based graphics card. All systems ran Windows XP Profesional and had 2GB of RAM unless otherwise noted. Higher is better for WorldBench 5 and the gaming tests. Elsewhere, lower is better. Bold denotes best score. Italicized systems are non-Core 2 machines for testing comparison. Tests conducted by PC World Test Center. For details on how we test, go to our WorldBench 5.0 page. All rights reserved.

More Test Details

The Core 2 Extreme X6800 reference system logged a score of 160 on WorldBench 5, 17 percent higher than the 137 turned in by the corresponding system using AMD's Athlon 64 FX-62. And the PC using the less expensive E6700 chip managed a score of 153 on WorldBench--still 12 percent better than the FX-62 PC's mark.

In addition to our lab-built systems, we tested several vendor-supplied PCs. For example, Dell's $3985 XPS 700, a high-end system based on the 2.67-GHz Duo E6700 processor, came with 2GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce 7950 GX2 Dual-GPU graphics board with 1GB of SDRAM, and two 320GB SATA hard drives in a Raid 0 array. That system (whose price includes a 24-inch wide-screen monitor) also earned a score of 153 on WorldBench 5, well ahead of the 142 posted by the previous top scorer, a 2.6-GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-60-based Xi system.

Dell's $2350 XPS 410--a relatively mainstream system based on the midrange 2.4-GHz E6600 CPU--shipped with 2GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce 7900GS graphics board, and two 320GB SATA drives configured in a Raid 0 array. That machine (whose price includes a 20-inch wide-screen LCD) earned a score of 138 on WorldBench 5, matching the score posted by AMD's high-end FX-62 chip on our motherboard test bed.

But even those notable scores paled in comparison to the performance of the overclocked system that ABS sent us. The $4199 water-cooled ABS Ultimate X9--which shipped with 2GB of RAM, a pair of Radeon X1900 Crossfire graphics boards, two superfast Western Digital 150GB SATA drives configured in a striped RAID array, and a Core 2 Extreme X6800 chip overclocked from 2.93 GHz to run at 3.5 GHz--turned in a WorldBench 5 score of 181. Obviously, this system is not a likely choice for typical buyers, but its score is by far the highest we've seen from a shipping system. And it may indicate how much headroom Intel's Core microarchitecture possesses.

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