Core 2 Duo E6750 review

Price when reviewed

Intel has given its Core 2 range a mid-life makeover, with new CPUs receiving a hike in clock speeds and bus frequencies. It’s likely to be the last refresh at the top end before the release of the new Penryn-microarchitecture parts towards the end of the year. Penryn-based processors will be the first produced with a 45nm fabrication process; the new CPUs remain on 65nm. In theory, they’ll work in 965- and 975-chipset motherboards, but there’s actually no benefit in doing this – the headline feature is higher FSB (front side bus) speeds, which will require the new P35 chipset to reap the rewards.

Core 2 Duo E6750 review

New Extreme Edition

The fastest new release is at the very top end of Intel’s enthusiast CPU line-up: the Core 2 Extreme Edition QX6850, replacing the QX6800 at the pinnacle of the food chain. A quad-core processor, it’s the third Core 2 Extreme model to be released since the original quad-core QX6700 at the end of last year (web ID: 100680). The new part’s basic specifications haven’t leapt massively, starting from 2.66GHz in the QX6700 and now hitting the 3GHz mark. The architecture remains identical, with two dual-core dies in one package, each with 4MB of L2 cache, making for a total of 8MB.

The major difference with the new release is its support for a 1,333MHz FSB frequency, up from a previous maximum of 1,066MHz. In theory, this represents a substantial 25% increase in bandwidth between the CPU and the rest of the system, which in particular should help memory performance with DDR3 RAM. Aside from its sheer speed, the QX6850 – like all other Extreme Edition Intel CPUs before it – is clock unlocked, allowing for direct clock-multiplier overclocking (standard Core 2 processors can be overclocked only indirectly by hiking FSB speeds).

As a general rule we’ve found you can overclock an Extreme Edition by one “speed bin” – our review sample ran perfectly happily with the clock multiplier increased from 9x to 10x, boosting it to 3.33GHz. And, in fact, a little more FSB tweaking got it up to 3.4GHz, running at 10x clock multiplier and 340MHz FSB (remembering that FSB speed is quad-pumped, giving an effective 1,360MHz), all with a stock cooler, giving us the fastest benchmark result ever of 2.04. At its standard clock, it still managed a mightily impressive result of 1.84.

New top-end dual core

Released at the same time as the QX6850 is a new standard Core 2 dual-core chip, the E6750. This is the new top-end standard part and comes in enormously cheaper than a QX6850 – not far from a sixth of the price, in fact. Even given the fact that you’re getting two fewer cores, it’s a hefty difference and betrays Intel’s determination to beat AMD on price when it comes to the volume end of the market. The new part runs with a 1,333MHz FSB, with a clock speed of 2.66GHz (the same as the existing E6700).

In comparison with the QX6850, the performance isn’t an open and shut case – with single-threaded code, the extra cores of the quad parts sometimes have little effect. With the majority of games, for instance, the E6750 will be within a whisker of the QX6850’s performance. In our application benchmarks, however, the overall difference is clear – a score of 1.43 for the E6750 against the QX6850’s 1.84 when fitted to the Gigabyte GA-P35T-DQ6 using 2GB of Kingston’s DDR3 HyperX RAM. But delving into the individual breakdowns shows that the gap closes with applications such as Office that aren’t extensively multithreaded; Office scores a figure of 1.42 against 1.53.

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