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3/4/08 at 11:50am
|We used our overclocking-champion GA-EP35-DS4 motherboard to test the E8500 at its stock 3.16GHz, the 2.66GHz speed of its lower-cost E8200 sibling, and its best-stable overclock. Making for a perfect comparison is our overclocking-champion Core 2 Duo E6750 at its stock 2.66GHz speed plus its highest-stable overclock.
Testing System Configuration
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz
Video Card MSI NX8800GTS OC 512MB
RAM Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 2x1GB CAS4
Hard Drive Samsung Spinpoint T166 500GB
Optical NEC ND-3500A DVD+/- R/RW
PSU Ultra X3 1000W
OS Windows XP Service Pack 2
Drivers Motherboard driver pack
NVIDIA Forceware 169.21
We already knew our Core 2 Duo E6750 could reach 4.16GHz at a 520MHz FSB clock and 1.50 volts. Using the same voltage, the Core 2 Duo E8500 climbed to 4.59GHz using a 483MHz FSB
Of course, 1.50 volts really is too much for the E8500, given its smaller die size. Rather than risk the core on long-term testing, we backed the core down to 1.45 volts. At this level, many builders will find that the most effective CPU air coolers are perfectly capable of keeping temperatures under control. Here are the results.
A final "best" overclock speed of 4.46GHz at the 470 MHz FSB and a 1.45V core voltage put the Core 2 Duo E8500 a full 300MHz faster than the highest speed our Core 2 Duo E6750 could hit using similarly-stressful voltage settings.
Benchmark Performance Results
The lowest two settings show how the Conroe core compares to the E8500's new Wolfdale core at the same clock speed. The Wolfdale starts out a winner in Sandra Arithmetic, and it superior overclocking provides a significant lead when comparing both processors' fastest settings.
Clock-per-clock comparisons of Wolfdale to Conroe cores in Sandra Multimedia show little to no difference, but Sandra doesn't support the new SSE4 extensions. When overclocking, the E8500 breaks out far ahead of its predecessor.
The Core 2 Duo E6750's lower multiplier required overclocking its front-side bus higher, and the higher FSB provided greater memory bandwidth when overclocking. We could have dropped the E8500's multiplier to achieve similar results, but thought that the stock speed settings would speak for themselves. In spite of the fact that both the Core 2 Duo E6750 and E8500 use Intel's FSB1333 at stock speed, and the fact that the memory controller is on the motherboard, the E8500's Wolfdale core makes better use of available bandwidth than the Conroe core of the E6750.
Boasting a faster clocked, higher performance, more miserly 45nm core, Intel's new Wolfdale takes Intel to the pinnacle of efficiency. But is the Core 2 Duo E8500 a good value?
At $260 in volume, the Core 2 Duo E8500 costs the same as the Conroe-based E6850 it replaces. Unfortunately, limited supplies of the latest cores have allowed profiteering on the part of venders, and the average E8500 web price we saw was $300, while the average E6850 web price was $280. Yes, it is worth the extra $20.
CPU buyers can usually get a little less bang for a lot fewer bucks on lower-speed models, but the Core 2 Duo E8200 isn't available yet. On the Conroe side, the E6750 sells for around $200. We expect that by the time the E8200 fills all orders, it will probably be less expensive than the 2.66GHz Conroe it replaces. But until that happens, we can only consider the value of the processor we have in hand.
At its 3.16 GHz clock speed, the Core 2 Duo E8500's most direct value comparison would be to the 3.0 GHz E6850. Due to its slightly higher clock speed, better per-clock performance, and moderately lower power consumption, the E8500 beats the E6850 by a little more than the price difference, and thus SysOpt has found itself a new value leader.