Released in the last summer, Intel's CPUs with the Core micro-architecture have won over the hearts of an overwhelming share of PC enthusiasts. Today, these CPUs provide the highest performance at relatively low heat dissipation and power consumption. Besides that, Core 2 Duo processors boast excellent overclockability that allows using them at frequencies far above their default ones. There is only one drawback about the Core 2 Duo. CPUs from this series are rather expensive, that's why they haven't yet conquered all the sectors of the CPU market. The junior model of the series cost as much as $183 (according to the official price-list), which cannot satisfy users who are limited in their PC budget.
But in the nearest future Intel is planning to extend the range of its dual-core CPUs with the Core micro-architecture downwards by releasing a few CPU models whose price should make them an appealing choice for low-end computers. The company is expected to issue its Core 2 Duo E4300 with an official price of $163 in January and to make this model even more affordable in the second quarter of this year by reducing its price to $113. Besides that, Intel wants to introduce a new series of inexpensive CPUs in the third quarter. It will be called Pentium E2000 and will include CPUs with the Core micro-architecture. The Pentium E2000 series is expected to lower the price of a Core 2 Duo processor to below $100.
There surely must be some prerequisites for such a dramatic change in the price policy. For example, AMD has mastered the manufacture of Brisbane cores on 65nm tech process and with 300mm wafers to be able to reduce the price on its own dual-core CPUs. Intel has been using such manufacturing technologies for long already, and the cheapening of the Core micro-architecture is not due to any technological breakthroughs, but is the result of minor changes in the CPU core design. The Core 2 Duo E4300 and some other models will be based on a new core codenamed Allendale in which the amount of L2 cache memory is reduced to 2MB. The Pentium E2000 processors will have even less of L2 cache memory - 1 megabyte only.
As a matter of fact, Intel has been offering Core 2 Duo processors with a 2MB L2 cache for some time already. These are Core 2 Duo E6300 and Core 2 Duo E6400, yet they are based on the full-featured Conroe core, with half the L2 cache disabled. The Allendale core will now obviously be used not only in Core 2 Duo E4000 processors, but also in the junior models of the E6000 series.
In this article we'll be discussing the new Core 2 Duo E4300 processor that we've been lucky to get into our hands. This CPU is most interesting today not only because it is based on the new Allendale core. It also differs from its senior mates in its support for an 800MHz FSB. This makes it a wanted product for an overclocker who will be able to overclock it without increasing the FSB frequency to an extremely high level.