iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Conroe vs. Wolfdale: To the Limit

Testing Core 2 Duo E6550, E6850, E8200, E8500.

July 23, 2008

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Non-professional/home tests


The E8200 almost catches up with the E6850 again in archiving, a classic "cache-mongering" integer task.


Inquisitive minds may see on this diagram an indirect proof that the saturation process has already started: the slowest Wolfdale outperforms the slowest Conroe by 18%, while the fastest Wolfdale outperforms the top Conroe by just 9%. However, let's not forget about the frequency difference: the E8200 is 330 MHz as fast as the E6550, and the E8500 is just 160 MHz as fast as the E6850. So the tendency is not that strong.


Conroe is utterly defeated. However, pay attention to one more fact, which is less noticeable, but no less illustrative: performance difference between the worst and the best results on this diagram is significantly smaller than on many others. If we analyze detailed results, we'll see that some games show no difference between these processors at all.

Non-professional photo processing

Another standard ladder.

Total non-professional score

We can say that the new core is even more beneficial for home applications: compared to the professional diagram, the difference between the top Conroe and bottom Wolfdale is even smaller.

Estimated power consumption*

* We actually measure power consumption of the on-board VRM, so our readings may be higher, because VRM is not 100% efficient.


The star turn of 45-nm Core 2 processors is very low idle power consumption. Besides, it does not depend on the CPU clock rate under load: both E8200 and E8500 consume 8 Watt.

100% load

The E8500 comes remarkably close to its official 65-W limit, even though it's manufactured by the 45-nm fabrication process. The E8200 does not differ much from the E6550 in power consumption either. We can assume that it has to do with larger L2 Cache.


There were times when such performance leaps (per frequency unit) could be demonstrated only by radically new cores. In fact, Intel managed to do the impossible: the company used significant improvements (without radical overhaul) to squeeze so much performance from the updated Conroe that would have required a new architecture in old times. Reduced power consumption (especially in idle mode), significantly increased performance - we'll risk an assumption that even the most optimistic users have not expected the E8xxx family to be such a success. Only one matter worries us: will Intel be able to sustain the performance growth rate it has come up with?

Memory modules provided by Corsair Memory Russia.

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