Intel Core 2 Duo

Let’s take a step back in time to when CPUs were easy to understand. Comparing different processor to easy, the higher the clock speed of the chip, the faster it was. That’s all there was to it, 3GHz was better than 2.4GHz, and that’s all one needed to know. The numbers game has of course been relegated to a historical footnote by newer core technologies that re-wrote the rules – anyone remember the shock of a Core 2 Duo processor out pacing a pentinium 4 chip at twice the speed?

Moving from single core to dual-core processors had an immediate benefit in many computing situations; background appl could run on one core, while the other focused on the tasks at hand. Moving from two cores to four cores hasn’t been quite the universal panacea for processing power. Only a few applications make effective use of all that parallel processing goodness….

Which brings us to the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, a 3.0GHz dual-core processor based on the ‘Wolfdale’ core that is being manufactured on the 45nm process. This socket 755 processor packs in 6MB of L2 cache and operates with a 1333MHz Front Side Bus speed. The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 retails for around $199 CDN ($170 USD, £113 GBP), which makes it considerably more affordable than quad-core processors with equivalent clock speed and cache.

So how does the E8400 compete against the new quad-core chips from AMD and Intel? While more cores can make a big difference in multi-threaded applications, they can also trip over themselves and slow down single-threaded applications. For everyday computer users, a fast dual-core CPU might be all the processing power you really need, let’s find out!

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Processor
Tech Specs

Core 2 Duo E8400
Clock: 3.0 GHz
Codename: Wolfdale
Cores: 2
L1: 2 x 64K
L2: 6MB
Multiplier: 9x
FSB Bus: 1333 MHz
Package: LGA775
Socket: 775
organic mPGA
Core: 45nm
Transistor: 400M
Power: 65 Watts
Vcore: 0.850-1.3625V
Cost: $203 CDN

Intel’s Core 2 Duo E8400 processor is physically similar to the Core 2 Duo E6750 (Conroe) and Socket 775 Pentium D processors that came before it. All of these processors use the Land Grid Array 775-pad package. intels move to a 45 nanometer manufacturing process means the silicon die here is approximately 104mm2 in area and contains around 410 million transistors. While the Core 2 Duo E8400 is a Socket 775 CPU, it isn’t compatible with all Socket 775 motherboard due to different voltage requirements and processor power envelopes.

Currently the Intel X48, X38, P45, P35, G35, G33 and G31 chipsets have native support for 45nm ‘Wolfdale’ processors and will support the 1333MHz Front Side Bus speed. Motherboards with older chipsets may support Wolfdale processors like the E8400 processor though BIOS updates, although compatibility isn’t universal. As always, check the vendor’s support page before you pick up any new parts.

Due to its 45nm die-shrink, the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor can be clocked at higher speeds yet maintain the same thermal design power (TDP) as the older 65nm E6000 series of processors. The typical TDP for the Core 2 Duo E8400 processor is 65W.

1333 MHz Front Side Bus Speed / 45nm Wolfdale Core

Wolfdale processors are currently Intel’s fastest dual-core processors. You can identify a Wolfdale processor by its family series. The Intel E5000, E7000 and E8000-series are all based on the Wolfdale core, and share the same 45nm

The Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 is a member of the highest end family. All E8000-series processors have 410 million transistors, 6MB of L2 cache, run at a 1333MHz front side bus, and have a TDP of 65W. The lower end of the Wolfdale dual-core processor families scale down accordingly: the E7XXX family of processors have 3MB of cache and run at a 1066MHz FSB, and the Intel E5XXX family, which has 2MB of cache and runs at 800MHz FSB.

Intel Socket 775 ‘Wolfdale’ 45nm Processors

Processor Models

Thermal Design Power Clock Speed FSB L2 Cache Size

Price (USD)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 65W 3.33 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $266
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 65W 3.16 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $183
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 65W 3.0 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 65W 2.83 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 65W 2.66 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E8190 65W 2.66 GHz 1333MHz 6MB $163
Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 65W 2.93 GHz 1066MHz 3MB $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 65W 2.8 GHz 1066MHz 3MB $113
Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 65W 2.66 GHz 1066MHz 3MB $133
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 65W 2.53 GHz 1066MHz 3MB $113

Intel has also added some new instruction sets for its Wolfdale (dual-core) and Yorkfield (quad-core) 45nm processors. The new SSE4 (Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extension, if you were wondering) instructions consist of 47 new vector instructions, most of which focus on improving the processor’s co-ordination with graphics and video acceleration.

Hardware has also improved, better for applications like VMware. Intel’s improved assisted virtualization is better at managing requests from the virtual manager, which allows both the virtual machine and the native to make calls to the hardware without conflicting with one another. The larger, 6MB cache on the high-end Wolfdale processors is also very useful in these environments.

Intel’s also talked a lot about how power efficient these new 45nm Wolfdale processors are going to be – so of course PCSTATS is going to put their claims to the test…

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