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Closer Look at Celeron E3300

When Celeron processors were transferred to 45 nm manufacturing process, all dual-core Intel solutions started using similar cores that can be conditionally regarded as members of the Wolfdale family. Nevertheless, dual-core processors that belong to different families – Core 2 Duo, Pentium and Celeron – differ quite a lot in their specifications. The parameters that Intel has traditionally used to differentiate between CPU series include first of all clock frequency, bus frequency and amount of L2 cache memory. The arrival of the new Celeron E3000 family didn’t change anything in this familiar well-balanced structure.

The top representative of the new family, Celeron E3300, works at a relatively low clock speed of 2.5 GHz. It supports 800 MHz bus, and has 1 MB of L2 cache onboard.

Besides that, there is one more processor model E3200 that works at 2.4 GHz clock frequency. The table below illustrates the place new Celeron processors take among other contemporary dual-core processors manufactured with 45 nm process.

Of course, compared with Core 2 Duo, the specifications of the new Celeron processors seem pretty modest. However, this is a deceptive impression. First, unlike Celeron processors from the E1000 series, the new Celeron E3000 offer twice as big L2 cache, higher clock frequencies and a new core with certain (even though not very serious) architectural improvements. Second, in terms of clock speeds and amount of cache memory new Celeron processors have already caught up with and even surpassed old 65 nm Pentium E2000 processors, which have been considered a more or less decent solution for an inexpensive computer system until recently.

To wind up our discussion of the processor formal specifications, let us offer you a screenshot from the CPU-Z utility, which has already become a traditional part of all our reviews:

As we see, the utility has some problems recognizing the CPU – it sees the new Celeron as a Core 2 Duo. Nevertheless, it reports some additional information about the processor. As you can see, Celeron is based on the same core revision as Pentium processors from E5000 and E6000 series. And it means that the company didn’t design and manufacture new semiconductor dies for the Celeron E3000 series processors, but used the same exact dies as in processors from a more expensive Pentium E5000 series with disabled half of the L2 cache. Moreover, the associativity of the new processors L2 cache has also been lowered accordingly, which is quite logical considering Intel engineers’ approach to limiting the amount of cache-memory.

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that Intel disabled very few processor technologies that would normally be disabled in budget solutions. Celeron E3000, unlike its predecessors, supports virtualization technology. This technology may have got into the new Celeron CPUs, because in Windows 7 not only professional users but also home users may eventually need it: the new Windows XP compatibility mode introduced in the upcoming OS will use this technology to the full extent. So, low-cost Intel processors will not support only one technology typical of higher-end models – SSE4.1 instructions set.

Even without the tests we can say with all certainty that the refresh of the Celeron family is a pretty serious claim for leadership in the budget segment. Although the specifications of the new Celeron E3000 processors are seriously superior to those of their predecessors, the new CPU models will cost about the same. In other words, old dual-core Celeron E1000 will be simply replaced with much more technically advanced Celeron E3000. Moreover, Intel is going to continue developing dual-core Celeron processors on 45 nm cores: within the first few months of 2010 we should see new CPUs in this lineup with even higher clock speeds.

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