After a quiet debut in Japan, Intel's new
Core 2 Duo Pentium E6300 has materialized at Newegg. This 2.8GHz dual-core processor is in stock and available for $91.99 with free shipping, which puts it within only a of couple bucks of the slower Pentium E5400.
What makes the E6300 special, aside from the confusing model name? ("E6300" also applies to one of the original Core 2 Duos.) A cursory look at the specs shows a 1066MHz front-side bus speed, a notch above the 800MHz FSB Core-based Pentiums have toted for years. In fact, the Pentium E6300 would be almost identical to the $120 Core 2 Duo E7400 if you gave it an extra 1MB of L2 cache.
Still missing from the spec sheet: virtualization support, which remains unavailable on desktop Pentium processors and newer desktop Core 2 Duos outside the E8000 series. You may want to skip the E6300 if you hope to use XP Mode when Windows 7 comes out later this year.