Intel Core 2 Duo & Core 2 Extreme Processors, Chipsets And Performance Analysis

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Our Test System and SiSoft SANDRA 2007

How we configured our test systems: When configuring our test systems for the following set of benchmarks, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High-Performance Defaults." We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set memory timings for DDR2-800 at 4,4,4,12 1T latency.  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional (SP2) was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed the drivers necessary for our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were then disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

HotHardware's Test Systems
AMD & Intel Inside!

System 1:
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
(2.93GHz)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
(2.66GHz)

Intel D975XBX
(975X Express)

Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition
(P965 Chipset)

Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe SE
(NVIDIA nForce 4 SLIX16)

2x512MB Corsair PC-8500
CL 4-4-4-12-1T - DDR2-800

2xGeForce 7900 GTX
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD740 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel INF 8.0.1.1002
nForce 4 Drivers v6.86
NVIDIA Forceware v91.27
DirectX 9.0c

System 2:
AMD Athlon FX-62 (2.8GHz)
AMD Athlon 62 X2 5000+ (2.6GHz)

Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe
(NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI)

2x512MB Corsair PC-8500

CL 4-4-4-12-1T - DDR2-800

2xGeForce 7900 GTX
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD740 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce 4 Drivers v6.86
NVIDIA Forceware v91.27
DirectX 9.0c
System 3:
Intel Pentium XE 965 (3.73GHz)

Intel D975XBX Motherboard
(975x Chipset)

2x512MB Corsair PC-8500
CL 4-4-4-12-1T - DDR2-800

GeForce 7900 GTX (CPU Tests)
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD740 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel INF 8.0.1.1002
NVIDIA Forceware v91.27
DirectX 9.0c
 
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2007 Pro
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran five of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2007 suite (CPU, Multimedia, Memory, Cache, and Latency) with the new Core 2 Duo E6700 and Core 2 Extreme X6800 processors. All of the scores reported below were taken with the processors running at their default clock speeds of 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz, respectively.


SANDRA CPU
Core 2 Duo E6700
2.66GHz




SANDRA MM
Core 2 Duo E6700
2.66GHz




SANDRA Memory
Core 2 Duo E6700
2.66GHz / DDR2-800




SANDRA Cache
Core 2 Duo E6700
2.66GHz




SANDRA Latency
Core 2 Duo E6700
2.66GHz




SANDRA CPU
Core 2 Extreme E6800
2.93GHz

SANDRA MM
Core 2 Extreme E6800
2.93GHz

SANDRA MM
Core 2 Extreme E6800
2.93GHz / DDR2-800

SANDRA Cache
Core 2 Extreme E6800
2.93GHz

SANDRA Latency
Core 2 Extreme E6800
2.93GHz

The lite-duty SANDRA benchmarks tell an interesting story. The CPU arithmetic benchmark shows the Core 2 processors performing very well in the ALU portion of the test, but in the FPU test the Core 2 CPUs hang alongside an FX-62 and get thrashed by Netburst based Pentium Extreme Editions.  According to the multi-media benchmark though, the Core 2 Duo is simply in a league of its own -- nothing comes close to the 6 digit scores put up by the E6700 and X6800.

SANDRA's memory benchmark isn't very interesting because nothing has really changed in regard to available bandwidth over current systems. Because the Core 2 is compatible with current chipsets, it's bound by the same memory controller used in today's Pentium D based systems. Their 5.6GB/s+ scores put the Core 2 processors we tested on-par with their Pentium powered counterparts.  We should note, however, that we also ran a few tests on the nForce 4 SLIX16 based Asus board using Corsair's TWIN2X2048-6400C3 memory kit and the X6800 and bandwidth scores peaked at almost 5.8GB/s.

The Cache and Latency tests also produced some interesting results.  Because these benchmarks can reside solely in each CPU's 4MB of cache, latency and cache bandwidth is much better on the Core 2 architecture versus the Athlon 64, even though the A64 features an on-die memory controller.


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