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Intel Core 2 Duo E6320/6420: The Long Awaited Low-End

July 13, 2007



In this article we'll examine performance and other characteristics of two processors that came out relatively recently: Intel Core 2 Duo 6320 and Core 2 Duo 6420. It is easy to notice that they are only distinguished from the older C2D E6300/6400 by a complete and full-sized, as in high-end models, 4MB shared L2 cache. However, besides explicit differences, there is one less evident – the newer stepping technology. In theory this could have lead to a change in such an important characteristic as power consumption. Well, let's see the test results...

Hardware and software

Test bench configuration

CPU Mainboard Memory Video
Core 2 Duo E4400 ASUS P5B Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Core 2 Duo E6300 ASUS P5B Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Core 2 Duo E6320 ASUS P5B Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Core 2 Duo E6420 ASUS P5B Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Athlon 64 X2 4400+ ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Athlon 64 X2 5000+ ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
Athlon 64 X2 6000+ ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Corsair CM2X1024-6400C4 GeForce 8800 GTX
  • RAM 2 x 1024 MB
  • Samsung HD401LJ (SATA) HDD
  • Boxed coolers
  • Cooler Master RS-A00-EMBA PSU
Processor Core 2 Duo E4400 Core 2 Duo E6300 Core 2 Duo E6320 Core 2 Duo E6420 Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Process, 65 65 65 65 90 90 90
Core frequency, GHz 2.0 1.86 1.86 2.13 2.2 2.6 3.0
# of cores 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
L2 cache*, KB 2048 2048 4096 4096 2x1024 2x512 2x1024
Bus frequency**, MHz 800 (QP) 1066 (QP) 1066 (QP) 1066 (QP) 2x800 (DDR2) 2x800 (DDR2) 2x800 (DDR2)
Multiplier 10 7 7 8 11 13 15
Socket LGA775 LGA775 LGA775 LGA775 AM2 AM2 AM2
Heat emission***, W 65 65 65 65 89 89 125
AMD64/EM64T + + + + + + +
VT + + + + + +

* - "2 x ..." means per core;
** - for AMD processors this is memory controller bus clock rate;
*** - measured differently for Intel and AMD processors; impossible to compare directly.

Software

  1. Windows XP Professional x64 edition SP1
  2. 3ds max 9 x64 edition
  3. Maya 8.5 x64 edition
  4. Lightwave 3D 9 x64 edition
  5. MATLAB R2006a (7.2.0.32) x64 edition
  6. Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0
  7. SolidWorks 2005
  8. Photoshop CS2 (9.0)
  9. Visual Studio 2005 Professional
  10. Apache HTTP Server 2.2.4
  11. CPU RightMark 2005 Lite (1.3) x64 edition
  12. WinRAR 3.62
  13. 7-Zip 4.42 x64 edition
  14. FineReader 8.0 Professional
  15. LAME 3.97
  16. Monkey Audio 4.01
  17. OGG Encoder 2.83
  18. Windows Media Encoder 9 x64 edition
  19. Canopus ProCoder 2.01.30
  20. DivX 6.4
  21. Windows Media Video VCM 9
  22. x264 v.604
  23. XviD 1.1.2
  24. F.E.A.R. 1.08
  25. Half-Life 2 1.0
  26. Quake 4 1.3
  27. Call of Duty 2 1.2
  28. Serious Sam 2 2.07
  29. Supreme Commander 1.0.3220

Testing

Essential foreword to charts

Our test method has two peculiarities of data representation: (1) all data types are reduced to one - integer relative score (performance of a given processor relative to that of Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, given its performance is 100 points), and (2) detailed results are published in this Microsoft Excel table, while the article contains only summary charts by benchmark classes. We will nevertheless focus your attention on detailed results, when needed.

3D modeling suites

One can't describe advantage of 6320 model over the older 6300 as fantastic. Moreover, 6320 has lost to the much less expensive Core 2 Duo E4400. In general, the fist result is not impressive at all: was it worth piling up another 2 megabytes of cache in order to get a 3% gain?

CAD/CAE

Everything said about the previous diagram can be carried over to the current one. Even increased cache was not enough for C2D E6320 to surpass E4400. In general, CADs that we use in our tests clearly gravitate towards AMD processors. That is why A64 X2 4400+ gave in symbolic 2 points to C2D E6420, being at present almost a hundred dollars cheaper.

Digital photo processing

Judging from comparison between C2D E6300 and E6320, Adobe Photoshop is rather tolerant to processors with Core 2 Duo with half-size level-two cache. And Athlon 64 X2 5000+ has finally found a worthy rival from the Intel camp, a little more expensive, indeed, yet a bit faster.

Compiling

At last we have seen an application in which E6320 managed to beat E4400 (even if by a symbolic single point). However, the application is quite specific and will doubtfully be of any interest to home users.

Web server

A rather usual situation: 6320 still looses to 4400.

Synthetics

There's nothing to comment on, in essence.

Data compression

In this set of tests 4400 was loosing even to 6300, and it comes as no surprise: archivers are very sensitive to speed of memory operations, while 6300 has a higher FSB frequency. However, having compared results of 6300 with 6320's, we again don't observe anything optimistic: a meager 2 points win.

OCR

As to optical character recognition – a single point at all.

Audio encoding

The tests are rather old, and results are entirely predictable.

Video encoding

This situation is no different from many others described previously.

Games

Here it is – the revenge of Core 2 Duo E6320! Specifically games turned out to be most sensitive to increased cache capacity, and 6320 has beaten 4400 by a whole 6%!

Total score




However, an impressive victory of 6320 in games could not break the general course of the joust: according to combined results, the victory in the most interesting duel between Core 2 Duo E4400 and E6320 goes to the former.

Presumable power consumption



Here is where we see another advantage of the renovated “twenties” models, due to new stepping technology: power consumption in idle state is significantly less, and under load 6320 uses 2 watts less than the old 6300.

Conclusions

As a whole, new processors are somewhat disappointing. At that it is quite logical to assume, that since 6320 turned out to be not much faster than 6300, 6420 will be insignificantly faster than 6400 (although we do not have any results obtained with the new methods for the latter). On the other hand, this disappointment is mostly predetermined – we expected too much, but lo and behold - it didn't happen. In reality, all is apparently plain here: Intel has debugged its production and lowered the yield of units with partially faulty L2 cache, so that brought about the idea to give 63xx and 64xx series a complete cache practically for nothing (price comparison between 6300 and 6320 supports this thesis, they are virtually the same). Add to that improved power consumption characteristics (although, 6400/6300 with new stepping had them too). In fact, only gamers, who also happen to be staunch supporters of Intel platform, have a reason to rejoice: in games new Core2 Duo E6320 is quite comparable to Athlon 64 X2 5000+ not only in performance, but also in price/performance ratio.

Memory modules were provided by Corsair Memory Russia

Stanislav Garmatyuk (nawhi@ixbt.com)
July 14, 2007

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