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Intel Core 2 Duo, Conroe rocks, dominates in games

First INQpressions Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 vs Athlon FX62
Wed Sep 20 2006, 18:58
INTEL has been a high-end underdog for a while.

AMD has owned that market for years but now the magical Conroe CPU is here and Intel finally has some ammunition to fight. Intel ditched the rotten Pentium 4 Netburst marchitecture and embraced Pentium M marchitecture.

It managed to make the Pentium M core even more efficient by some thirty per cent and that's how we got Conroe and Merom CPUs. Conroe finally got its commercial name Core 2 Duo and is the fastest Intel marchitecture that money can buy today.

alt='cduo'
Intel Core 2 Duo or Conroe, as we like to call it, has two independent cores each having 2MB of cache. It is manufactured on 65 nanometre marchitecture and the production is ramping up. Intel now can get enough of the CPUs to satisfy demand. The chip has fourteen pipelines stages compared to thirty one on the Pentium 4 EE CPU.

The one we tested works at 2.67GHz and it is branded as Intel Core 2 Duo E6700. Each core works at 2.67GHz and the CPU uses 266MHz FSB.

alt='cdou1'
The CPU officially supports DDR 2 memory up to 800MHz and if you overclock you can get even 1200MHz memory to work on it. The CPU has two times 64KB of L1 cache that it uses for data or instructions - much more compared to Pentium 4 EE which had only 28KB. AMD's Athlon FX has twice as much, totally 128KB of cache memory and uses 64KB for data and 64 for instructions.

The Core 2 Duo supports X86, x86-64, and all SSEs from one to SSE4. This is the first Intel Pentium M based CPU that fully supports 64-bit computing.

alt='cduo2'
The real beauty is the maximal thermal dissipation. The Conroe E6700 that we used maximally dissipates 65W. The fastest Conroe, Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 dissipates 10W more - 75W - but it is still much better than Athlon FX62 dissipation of 125W. It is almost twice as much and Intel's Pentium E.E 965 still 65 nanometre CPU dissipates a record 130W. Conroe operates with 1.2-1.3625V and the one we tested E6700 at 2.66GHz costs around €500 in the Euroland or £370 in the UK or $529.00 in the USA. It is available in all these territories.

alt='cduo3'
We tested this new marchitecture CPU versus AMD's fastest FX62 and trust me Conroe has proven worthy. We used Asus boards in both cases while the rest of the machine was the same.

Benchmarketing
We used :
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe Nforce 590 SLI motherboard Athlon FX 62 2800 MHz 90 nanometre Windsor core
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe, Intel 975X chipset Conroe, Intel Core 2 Duo E6700, 2x 2.67GHz, 266MHz FSB, 4MB Cache 2x1024 MB DDR2 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa EVO AK 922 Blue Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
Silverstone Strider ST60F, 600W ATX 2.0 SATA

Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game3
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
29993
261.2
212.1
181.5
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
32501
269.0
218.3
187.4
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
1427
156.2
25.8
64.8
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
1605
180.7
28.2
?
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
8194.9
22440.6
88.5
408.4
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
8256.1
22438.4
90.8
416.4
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game1
Game2
Game2
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
13668
52.8
42.0
73.6
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
14186
55.8
44.0
74.4
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
7350
3.3
7.2
?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
9626
5.1
8.1
?
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Pixel Shader

VS/VS
complex

Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
9441.0
22749.9
637.5
129.5/94.8
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
9473.3
22742.6
638.0
130.0/95.4
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
8048
? ? ?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
8209
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
3639
29.067
31.589
?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
3632
28.997
31.543
?
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
3476
30.985
38.545
?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
3480
30.801
38.793
?
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
2091
0.669
1.045
?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
2307
0.728
1.170
?
? ? ? ? ?

PC Mark 2005

CPU
Memory
HDD
Total
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
5689
5342
5260
6323
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
6789
5682
5242
6860
? ? ? ? ?
Sandra 2007
CPU
Memory
Multimedia
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
20379/17195
8593/8546
52936/57458
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
24610/16994
5646/5634
145697/79116
?
? ? ? ? ?
Cinebench 9.5 lower is better exc. C4D
Rendering 1 CPU
Rendering 2 CPUs
C4D Shadring
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
0:53
0:28
451
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
0:50
0:26
531
? ? ? ? ?
Cinebench 9.5 higher is better
OpenGL SW-L
OpenGL HW-L
OpenGL speedup
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
1956
3469
7.66 times
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
2064
4090
7.72 times
? ? ? ? ?
Sciencemark 2.0 higher is better
Molecular
Primordia
Cryptography
Stream
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
1416.50
1444.56
1421.60
2083.30
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
1292.04
1339.18
1251.76
1468.91
? ? ? ? ?
Sciencemark 2.0 higher is better
Memory bandwidth
Memory
Blas / flops
Total
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
7743.93 MB/s
1942.64
1494.90
1558.11
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
5180.83 MB/s
1648.22
2055.10
1499.33
? ? ? ? ?
Audio Encoding WAV 700MB to MP3
lower is better
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
01:40
? ? ?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
01:30
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Video Encoding VOB to AVI
lower is better
encode min:sec
? ? ?
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
10:05
? ? ?
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
07:30
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
128.5
127.5
126.7
116.6
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
156.8
151.9
150.7
125.6
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
128.1
120.7
103.5
71.1
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
149.9
132.3
107.1
71.4
? ? ? ? ?
Far Cry High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
97.03
96.81
95.76
76.51
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
122.73
120.68
113.23
76.66
? ? ? ? ?
Half Life 2 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
82.17
71.91
66.74
59.11
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
99..20
69.43
65.99
58.10
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
168.7
166.6
163.5
150.0
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
200.8
194.8
189.5
173.0
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
162.9
155.8
145.6
118.9
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
186.4
175.3
160.4
124.8
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
138
128
108
78
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
179
150
114
78
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
122
98
69
45
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
135
99
70
46
? ? ? ? ?
Battlefield 2
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
113.69
112.67
112.76
107.11
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
136.76
132.98
132.08
116.30
? ? ? ? ?
Battlefield 2 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
113.29
110.78
101.15
79.01
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
131.05
123.02
109.11
80.11
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
154.2
151.8
150.5
127.7
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
189.8
182.2
173.6
134.1
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam 2 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe - FX62, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
153.2
141.4
123.0
91.0
Asus 5PW DH Deluxe - Core Duo, Gainward BLISS 7950GX2
183.8
148.9
126.1
92.5

Core 2 Duo at 2.66MHz with its two cores dominates the FX62. In 3Dmark03 it runs 2500 marks faster while in the CPU test it scores 180 marks faster. It is 500 marks faster in 3Dmark05 it is 2276 faster in the CPU score. In 3Dmark06 the Core 2 Duo at 2.66 is just 150 marks faster and the CPU test scores some 200 marks more. In PCmark05 Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 is 1100 marks faster in CPU test and in total score some 530 marks faster.

Sandra 2007 runs 4300 marks faster in CPU test and incredibly more than twice faster in multimedia, actually closer to three times faster but it loses in memory test as AMD has the memory controller on the CPU die.

We tried the Cinebench 9.5 Intel is a few seconds faster roughly close to ten percent faster as the lower score is better in rendering image one and two. Intel is some 80 frames faster in C4D Shadring. It is 108 points faster in OpenGL Software-L and in OpenGL Hardware-L is some more significant 621 point faster. OpenGL speedup runs 7.72 times faster than on Intel while the AMD based machine gets 7.66 times index.

The FX 62 dominates the Science mark 2.0 test. It is faster in every single test but traditionally Intel wasn't that good at it. Intel only manages to be faster in Blas/flops but it is 60 points slower than the AMD CPU.

We took a big WAV file and made our custom Audio Encoding WAV 700MB to MP3 test. Intel Core 2 Duo is sharply ten seconds faster. As the lower is better. in video encoding we took a VOB file and converted it to AVI. Lower is again better and Intel does the job in 7.30 minutes while AMD needs a full 10.05 minutes to do it. Core 2 Duo, the mighty Conroe is 30 percent faster.

In Games, the Core 2 Due slaughters its more expensive FX62 competitor. Doom 3 runs 28 Frames faster at 10x7 on Conroe and around twenty five frames faster on average. It only falls to nine frames advantage at 20x15.

Even with FSAA and Aniso on Conroe is 20 frames faster at first resolution while it fals to ten and less on higher ones. Far Cry runs 27 frames faster, while Half Life 2 with 4X FSAA and 8X Aniso runs 17 frames faster on 10x7 but loses by a frame or two to FX62 in higher resolutions. Core 2 Duo reaches 200 FPS on our Quake 4 test and is 32 frames faster than FX62, twenty eight at 12x10, twenty six at 16x12 and twenty three at 20x15. In Quake 4 FSAA 4X and 8X Aniso is twenty six frames faster at 10x7, twenty at 12x10, fifteen at 16x12 and six at 20x15.

In FEAR Core 2 Duo slaughters FX62. we are talking about 41 FPS advantage at 10x7, twenty two at 12x9, six at 16x12 and none at 20x15 graphic limited resolution. With effects on Conroe only dominates at 10x7 for thirteen frames and it runs just a single frame faster on the higher resolutions. Battlefield 2 also likes Conroe and runs twenty three frames faster at 10x7, twenty at 12x10, again twenty at 16x12 and nine at 20x15. Battlefield 2 FSAA 4X and Aniso 8X runs eighteen frames faster at 10x7, thirteen at 12x10, eight at 16x12 and less then one at 20x15. Serious Sam 2 runs thirty five frames faster at 10x7, thirty one at 12x10, twenty three at 16x12 and seven fastest at 20x15. In Serious Sam 2 FSAA and Aniso on Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 at 2.66 GHz runs thirty frames faster at 10x7, seven at 12x10, three at 16x12 and one and a half at 20x15.

In short
Intel finally woke up after three years of following in AMD's performance footsteps and made one hell of a CPU. Whatever it did it, it works well, the CPU keeps its cool and can easily be overclocked.

In games, the Core 2 Duo can end up thirty percent faster and bare in mind that we only tested the second-fastest Core 2 Duo, branded as E6700. There is one more Conroe that goes even faster but we didn't have this one on our test.

This CPU kickis the performance butt of FX 62 and it costs half its price - around €500 to be more precise. AMD definitely needs 4x4 and this should arrive soon as Intel even has Core 2 Quadro ready for the next months launch. Games should enjoy this CPU as its great value for the money and it run games, rendering, video and audio encoding much faster than the competitors CPU. We can recommend this CPU to just about anyone. ?

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

 

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