Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Review
While it has nearly been two years since the first quad-core CPU arrived from Intel, weíre still in a holding pattern waiting for more apps that are truly capable of taking advantage of all four cores: weíve certainly seen games with independent threads for physics, networking, AI, etc, but none of them have really made a profound case for upgrading to quad core. Quite frankly we say this because weíve seen a number of games make the case for quad-core ahead of their retail release, but when push comes to shove and the game actually ships, the final result hasnít matched up to the hype.
There are some exceptions to this however. Gas Powered Games Supreme Commander is one title that does scale fairly well across four cores, although it can be difficult to benchmark the exact impact in an actual gameplay scenario. In fact, the RTS genre as a whole has been the quickest to take advantage of multithreading so far.
Lost Planet is another game that scales quite well as you add 4 or more processing cores.
Of course, there are plenty of apps beyond gaming that do take advantage of more than two cores. Content creation apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, Pinnacle Studio, CyberLink Power Producer and Power Director, and professional applications like 3D Studio Max are all more than capable of pushing todayís latest quad-core CPUs.
On the other hand, if youíre the type of user who doesnít usually dabble in video encoding or content creation, none of this matters to you. All you care about is which processor is going to deliver the best blend of performance and price for your needs. Power consumption and overclocking may also be important criteria for some enthusiasts.
For these types of users, a quad core CPU like Intelís highly popular Core 2 Quad Q6600 probably wouldnít be the best solution. The Q6600 is clocked at just 2.4GHz with a 1066MHz FSB and Intelís older, less efficient 65-nm manufacturing process. Another downside of quad-core processors is that they donít scale as far as dual-core CPUs when it comes to overclocking.
Fortunately Intel has a solution for these users who crave performance, efficiency, and scalability, yet donít need four cores. Intelís solution? Wolfdale!
Intelís latest Core 2 Duo E8000 series CPUs are all built around Intelís Wolfdale core. Wolfdale is a card carrying member of Intelís Penryn family of 45-nm CPUs. If you recall, with Penryn Intel has incorporated a number of improvements beyond the smaller 45-nm manufacturing process. For instance, Penryn is Intelís first CPU to incorporate SSE4. In addition to compiler optimizations, SSE4 incorporates a number of ďapplication targeted acceleratorsĒ which are hard-coded onto the processorís die to improve performance in gaming, video encoding, 3D rendering, and photo imaging apps. Penryn also features a new 128-bit wide single-pass shuffle unit thatís designed to improve Penrynís performance with SSE2, SSE3, and SSE4 instructions that have shuffle-like operations.
Penryn also incorporates a new divider technique that provides double the divider speed over previous processors when handling math computations and improved virtualization.
The new features most enthusiasts will especially enjoy though are Penrynís larger L2 cache (6MB of L2 cache in the case of dual-core Wolfdale CPUs, and 12MB for quad-core Yorkfield) and faster 1333MHz FSB speed. Combined these two new features offer a significant boost over Intelís previous CPUs.
Intelís latest Wolfdale processor is the Core 2 Duo E8600. Clocked at 3.33GHz, the E8600 is Intelís fastest Core 2 CPU in terms of raw clock speed. Letís take a closer look at the CPUÖ