Articles: CPU

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The Intel processor price cut that occurred a month ago turned into an important milestone on the multi-core processors’ way to user computer systems. The price of quad-core processors has finally dropped down to the level of dual-core solutions. To be more exact, the youngest model in the official Core 2 Quad lineup is priced exactly the same as the top Core 2 Duo CPU. This price, by the way, is set at $266, which seems quite sufficient to make processors with four computational cores much more popular than they used to be before.

This particular situation inspired us to undertake another analytical investigation where we decided to arrange a duel between dual-core and quad-core processors priced identically. I am talking about Core 2 Duo E6850 and Core 2 Quad Q6600. True, a lot of users found themselves facing this difficult choice, as the above mentioned processor models are currently sold in retail stores at comparable prices. However, these processors are so different in their specifications that even true professionals cannot always make the most optimal choice between them with all certainty. These processors feature not only different number of computational cores, they also work at very different clock speeds and support busses running with different frequencies.

There is an opinion that a lot of resource-hungry applications that have be released or updated recently, can take real advantage of multi-core processor capabilities. At the same time, this is not always true about the older applications and games, the majority of which are still working with only one of two computational threads. Therefore, we decided to perform a special test session that will make a lot of things clear and help us decide if quad-core processors can really replace high-speed dual-core CPUs in different applications.

It is also very interesting to see the outcome of Core 2 Duo E6850 and Core 2 Quad Q6600 rivalry because both these processors use absolutely identical semiconductor dies. The thing is that contemporary quad-core Intel processors consist of a pair of dual-core dies mounted within the same LGA775 package. That is why we can actually expect dual- and quad-core processors from the Core family to demonstrate similar overclockability. This, at the same time, dives us some hope for Core 2 Quad Q6600 to overclock to the top frequencies that can be achieved with Core 2 Duo E6850. In other words, it should be even more exciting to compare Core 2 Duo E6850 and Core 2 Quad Q6600 from the overclocking standpoint than in the nominal operational mode. Moreover, both, Core 2 Duo E6850 as well as the recently released Core 2 Quad Q6600 are based on the new G0 core stepping, that boasts slightly better overclocking potential, according to our previously conducted research.

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