Low price of the Pentium E2160 and E2140 processors as well as Core micro-architecture they are based on make them extremely interesting for overclocking experiments. Especially, since they are based on L2 core that can be overclocked to 3.2-3.4Ghz, according to our previous experiments. As we have already mentioned above, the L2 cache memory size doesn’t matter that much for majority of tasks, so the new CPUs may demonstrate pretty decent performance when overclocked to their maximum frequencies.
To confirm or deny these suppositions we decided to take a closer look at the overclocking potential of the new processors in question. During our overclocking experiments we used Zalman CNPS9700 LED processor cooler.
First of all we decided to test Pentium E2160 processor. We overclocked it by raising the FSB frequency, with the clock multiplier remaining at its nominal 9x. By increasing the processor Vcore to 1.5V we could push the FSB frequency to 378MHz thus hitting 3.4GHz clock speed. The CPU was running stably at this speed and passed the ORTHOS stability check.
This is a very good result, as we overclocked our CPU by 89% above the nominal in this case and even exceeded the nominal frequency of the top CPU on Core micro-architecture from the Core 2 Extreme family.
The second processor, Pentium E2140, didn’t overclock that well at all. In the same testing conditions, i.e. with 1.5V Vcore, we managed to increase its FSB frequency only to 355MHz. further increase led to system failing to boot. Further experiments revealed that this CPU can even work without Vcore adjustment at this FSB speed, which means we have hit the “FSB wall” for this processor. This problem wouldn’t let us continue our overclocking attempts, and we had to admit that the maximum result for this processor would be 2.84GHz, which doesn’t look that appealing at all especially against the background of the previous result.
However, you should always remember, that overclocking is a lottery to some extent, so far not everyone will score high in it. We decided to find out what you could get from overclocking with some good luck on your side by comparing the performance of the Pentium E2160 overclocked to 3.4GHz with that of Intel’s top dual-core processor – Core 2 Extreme X6800.
The tests were performed in the configuration described above:
Core 2 Extreme
AutoGK 2.4/Xvid 1.2, fps
AutoGK 2.4/DivX 6.6, fps
H.264 Encoding, Apple Quicktime Pro 7, sec
mp3 Encoding, Apple iTunes 7, sec
Word 2007 (Document Compare), sec
Excel 2007, sec
7-Zip 4.45, Compressing, KB/s
Photoshop CS3, sec
Sonar 6.2, sec
Premiere Pro 2.0, sec
3ds Max 8 (SPECapc), Rendering
Fritz 9 Chess Benchmark
ScienceMark 2.0, Primordia
Quake 4, 1024x768 High Quality
F.E.A.R., Medium Quality
Company of Heroes, 1024x768
Valve Source Engine particle benchmark
The table above shows the advantage of the overclocked Pentium E2160 very clearly. It loses to Core 2 Extreme X6800 with 4MB L2 cache only in a few applications. It means that you can squeeze the performance of Intel’s top dual-core processor from a sub-$100 CPU, no matter how unbelievable it sounds.
By the way, unfortunately, you cannot achieve the same result by overclocking Athlon 64 X2 3600+ or 3800+. The performance results of the 3GHz Athlon 64 X2 6000+ prove this true. It loses noticeably to Core 2 Extreme x6800, and moreover, youngest Athlon 64 X2 processors will very rarely overclock beyond 3GHz in common conditions (with air cooling only).