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Test notes
First and foremost, you will see test results for the Core 2 Duo E6400 processor in this article. That processor came to us courtesy of the fine folks at NCIX. Those of you who are in Canada will definitely want to check them out as potential source of PC hardware and related goodies. Of course, no examination of the E6400 would be complete without some overclocking action, and we intend to produce a separate article about overclocking the E6400 in the near future.

You'll notice the presence of a CPU marked "Core 2 4MB 1.86GHz" in our results. That's actually a Core 2 Extreme X6800 chip that I've clocked down to the same speed as the Core 2 Duo E6300. I wanted to see how the move from 4MB of L2 cache to 2MB impacts performance, so I set up this clock-for-clock comparison against the E6300.

Please note that the two Pentium D 900-series processors in our test are actually a Pentium Extreme Edition 965 chip that's been set to the appropriate core and bus speeds and had Hyper-Threading disabled in order to simulate the actual products. Similarly, our Socket AM2 versions of the Athlon 64 X2 4800+, 4600+, and 4200+ are actually the Athlon 64 FX-62 and X2 5000+ clocked down to the appropriate speeds, and the Core 2 Duo E6600 is actually an underclocked Core 2 Extreme X6800. The performance of our "simulated" processor models should be identical to the actual products.

Also, I've placed asterisks next to the memory clock speeds of the Socket AM2 test systems in the table below. Due to limitations in AMD's memory clocking scheme, a couple of these systems couldn't set their memory clocks to exactly 800MHz.

Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Pentium Extreme Edition 965 3.73GHzCore 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz Pentium D 950 3.4GHz
Pentium D 960 3.6GHz
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Energy Efficient SFF 2.0GHz
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz
Athlon 64 X2 4800+
2.4GHz
Athlon 64 X2 4600+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz
Athlon 64 FX-62
2.8GHz
Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Energy Efficient 2.4GHz
Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz
Core 2 Extreme X6800 at 1.86GHz
Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz
Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz
Core 2 Duo E6400 2.66GHz
System bus1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)1GHz HyperTransport
MotherboardIntel D975XBXIntel D975XBX2Intel D975XBXAsus M2N32-SLI Deluxe
BIOS revisionBX97510J.86A.1073.
2006.0427.1210
BX97520J.86A.1024.
2006.0814.1142
BX97510J.86A.1073.
2006.0427.1210
0402
BX97510J.86A.1209.
2006.0601.1340
BX97510J.86A.1334.
2006.0714.1343
North bridge975X MCH975X MCH975X MCHnForce 590 SLI SPP
South bridgeICH7RICH7RICH7RnForce 590 SLI MCP
Chipset driversINF Update 7.2.2.1007
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
INF Update 7.2.2.1007
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
INF Update 7.2.2.1007
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
SMBus driver 4.52
IDE/SATA driver 6.67
Memory size2GB (2 DIMMs)2GB (2 DIMMs)2GB (2 DIMMs)2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory typeCrucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz*
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL)4444
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)4444
RAS precharge (tRP)4444
Cycle time (tRAS)15151512
AudioIntegrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4991.0 drivers
Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4991.0 drivers
Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4991.0 drivers
Integrated nForce 590 MCP/AD1988B with SoundMAX 5.10.2.4490 drivers
Hard driveMaxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Graphics GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCI-E with ForceWare 84.25 drivers
GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCI-E with ForceWare 84.21 drivers (WorldBench only)
OSWindows XP Professional x64 Edition
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (WorldBench only)

Thanks to Corsair and Crucial for providing us with memory for our testing. Both of them provide products and support that are far and away superior to generic, no-name memory.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply units. Thanks to OCZ for providing these units for our use in testing.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.