Guide to Intel multicore CPU processors

July 22, 2008 Update: Intel has just announced that the E8500 has been dropped in price by 31%, the E8400 has gone down 11%, and the Q6600 now costs 14% less. The figures below were written prior to these price drops. Also note that Aug. 10, 2008 is supposed to be the next date of huge price cuts, which will affect the 45 nm Quads. Geez... I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that AMD stock just hit a low of $4.32/share!

Trying to wade through the maze of processor numbers and specifications can be confusing to say the least. Each processor number is unique and it represents a different specification than any other processor, therefore offering different performance characteristics than its brethren. Check this guide to see which Intel desktop processor is the best fit for your build!

Processor Number • Architecture • Cache • Clock Speed • Front Side Bus

A peek inside the microarchitecture of current Intel CPUs
A peek inside the microarchitecture of current Intel CPUs

Core 2 Duos

Right now the sweet spot of the Core 2 Duos for the performance enthusiast, prosumer and gamer has to be the E8400. The current price on Newegg is $180 while the bigger brother E8500 sells for $210. Therefore the price per GHz on the E8400 is $60 and it's $66.46 for the E8500. Most people won't be able to tell much of a difference between the two CPUs so the E8400 gets the nod. As for the E8190, it is the only 45 nm (Wolfdale series) that doesn't support the Intel Trusted Execution Technology and thus is only really suitable for specialty (read non-consumer) applications. The rest of the E line remains questionable at current pricing. Look at the specs for the E6420 (65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.13 GHz • 1066 MHz) and wonder why it's priced exactly the same at Newegg as the E8400 (45 nm • 6MB L2 • 3 GHz • 1333 MHz), when it's obvious that the Wolfdale eats its lunch at every step along the way. The only possible justification for still selling the E6420 is that some motherboards may have older chipsets that won't run 45nm parts but then again, this is little more than a shallow argument. There are plenty of motherboards that are fully Wolfdale compliant and cost south of $75. If you're really pinching your pennies, the E4600 provides • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.4 GHz • 800 MHz at a Newegg price of $120. This is an excellent CPU for the money but if I was building a Core 2 Duo system today, I'd scrimp and save the extra $60 somewhere else or even skip lunch for a week and buy the E8400 which is the current Best Bang For The Buck in the Core 2 Duo line.

  • E8500 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 3.16 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E8400 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 3 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E8300 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.83 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E8200 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E8190 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E7200 • 45 nm • 3MB L2 • 2.53 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • T9500 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.60 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T9300 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.50 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T8300 • 45 nm • 3MB L2 • 2.40 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T8100 • 45 nm • 3MB L2 • 2.10 GHz • 800 MHz
  • E6850 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 3 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E6750 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E6700 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E6600 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.40 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E6550 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.33 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E6540 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.33 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • E6420 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.13 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E6400 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.13 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E6320 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 1.86 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E6300 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.86 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • E4700 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.60 GHz • 800 MHz
  • E4600 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.4 GHz • 800 MHz
  • E4500 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.2 GHz • 800 MHz
  • E4400 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.00 GHz • 800 MHz
  • E4300 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.80 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7800 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.6 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7700 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.40 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7600 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.33 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T7500 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.20 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7400 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.16 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T7300 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.00 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7250 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 2.00 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T7200 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.00 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T7100 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.80 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T5600 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.83 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T5550 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.83 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T5500 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.66 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T5470 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.60 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T5450 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.66 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T5300 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.73 GHz • 533 MHz
  • T5270 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.4 GHz • 800 MHz
  • T5250 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.50 GHz • 667 MHz
  • T5200 • 65 nm • 2MB L2 • 1.60 GHz • 533 MHz

Core 2 Quads

I would hold off on any purchase of a Core 2 Quad right now. All sorts of rumors are swirling around and it seems fairly definite that huge price cuts are coming to this line any day now, along with the introduction of a Q9400 to replace the currently very popular Q9450. The new chip is supposed to be exactly the same but cut down the L2 cache to 6 MB. The cuts are huge, pricing a Q9550 (Newegg $550 today) at the price of a Q9450 (Newegg $330 today). Therefore if you can hold on to your old system for a bit longer, you can rush to get the Q9550 at just over $300 which has to be the best deal anywhere.

  • Q9550 • 45 nm • 12MB L2 • 2.83 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • Q9450 • 45 nm • 12MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • Q9300 • 45 nm • 6MB L2 • 2.50 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • Q6700 • 65 nm • 8MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • Q6600 • 65 nm • 8MB L2 • 2.40 GHz • 1066 MHz

Core 2 Extreme

Ah yes, the Extremes. Fantastic processors that no one in their right mind can possibly ever afford. What I stated about the Core 2 Quads applies here too. There is a new Q9650 coming that is effectively indistinguishable from the QX9650 (45 nm • 12MB L2 • 3.00 GHz • 1333 MHz) and it is priced at the current level of the Q9550. The new price per GHz on the Q9650 is $183 (which is a vast improvement over its current $340/GHz) but it can't compete in value with the new priced Q9550 at $116.61/GHz!

  • QX9775 • 45 nm • 12MB L2 • 3.2 GHz • 1600 MHz
  • QX9770 • 45 nm • 12MB L2 • 3.2 GHz • 1600 MHz
  • QX9650 • 45 nm • 12MB L2 • 3.00 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • QX6850 • 65 nm • 8MB L2 • 3.00 GHz • 1333 MHz
  • QX6800 • 65 nm • 8MB L2 • 2.93 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • QX6700 • 65 nm • 8MB L2 • 2.66 GHz • 1066 MHz
  • X6800 • 65 nm • 4MB L2 • 2.93 GHz • 1066 MHz
 

Check out hundreds of Hal's PC Technology articles in these categories:

More by this Author


Comments 4 comments

shachar2 8 years ago

where's the guide? this information is available on intel's site as well


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Touche' shachar2! I'm a big boy and I can definitely admit when I'm wrong. This Hub was a bit light on the Guide and heavy on the numbers. Fair enough, so I've added some info on where to find the sweet spot in each category. Believe me, I'd love nothing better than to spend all of next week personally benchmarking each of Intel's Core 2s to write the Ultimate CPU Comparison, so if you have Paul Otellini's home phone number give him a call and ask him to send them all over to me! :)


backinblack 8 years ago

i agree with you that the E8400 is the best bang for your buck CPU. and today very few programs are written to take advantage of a Quad Core CPU.

so my question to you is would buying a E8400 cpu over a quad core cpu be a mistake?

the quad runs way hotter and bleeds watts. while the wolfdale (E8400) run cooler and are energy efficient.

i just dont know how soon will more than 50% of the market start taking advantage of a 4 core cpu over a 2 core cpu.

its like driving around in a ferrari but being able to only drive it at 40mph speed limit.

so what is your advice?


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I have to disagree with you on one point as the 45nm Quads don't run any significantly hotter than the Duals. The software is always your determining factor in determining how many cores you have. If your apps are coded as fully multithreading compliant, then you'd be crazy to not buy as many cores as you can afford. Unfortunately, the only truly popular app that can do that is Photoshop. The vast majority of apps and games that people use are singlethreaded and in those cases you will only see the advantage of multi-core CPUs if you are running several single-threaded apps all at once. With the new price cuts and the introduction of the E8600, dual cores make sense for most people. However, also keep in mind that more apps will be written for multi-cores so if you plan to keep your PC at the cutting edge for a couple of years, then you're better off to go multi.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working