Intel Core 2
- Great all around performance
- Nothing of note
The Core 2 Duo is currently the fastest mainstream CPU family on the market and is perfect for most scenarios. Even the slowest Core 2 Duo will provide excellent performance for gaming, everyday computing, video editing, MP3 encoding and heavy multitasking.
Price$ 300.00 (AUD)
The Core 2 Duo family of dual core processors was introduced in July 2006 to supersede the aging Pentium 4 and Pentium D models. The Pentium 4 was last updated in February 2004 and was discontinued in favour of the dual-core Pentium D, which was introduced in May 2005, and consisted of two Pentium 4-based cores. PCs based on the Pentium D were relatively poor performers compared to PCs based on AMD's Athlon 64 range of CPUs according to our monthly tests of PCs (see Elite and Atlanta III Series, as an example).
The Core 2 microarchitecture - used in the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme range of CPUs - draws upon the Core microarchitecture, first introduced in the Core Duo series of notebook CPUs. The Core 2 microarchitecture adds 64-bit instructions, allowing the 64-bit version of Windows Vista to run on systems using this architecture.
Built using a 65 nanometre manufacturing process, they consume around 65W of power under a full processing load. Core 2 Duo CPUs come with with 2MB or 4MB of cache, which is shared across both cores. Unlike AMD's Athlon 64 X2 CPUs, each core has access to the full cache. This helps reduce the latency involved in searching for a piece of data in the cache, as both cores can access the same areas. Another feature of the Core 2 Duo's cache is that each core can be dynamically allocated a portion. For example, if one core is idle, then the majority of the cache can be dedicated to the other core.
Furthermore, the amount of data that can be processed in one clock cycle has been increased in the Core 2 microarchitecture. It allows each core to process up to four instructions at the same time, as opposed to three in the Netburst microarchitecture, which is what the Pentium 4 and Pentium D CPUs were based on. The ability of Core 2 Duo to process an extra instruction per core for each clock cycle, means it can process more data during a single clock cycle, which makes it a more efficient CPU than its predecessors.
The speed of each Core 2 Duo CPU can be quickly learned by looking at the model number. The higher the number, the faster the CPU frequency of each core. The models available are the E6700, which run at 2.66GHz and has a 4MB cache size; the E6600, which runs at 2.4GHz and has a 4MB cache size; the E6400, which runs at 2.13GHz and has a 2MB cache; the E6300, which runs at 1.86GHz and has a 2MB cache size. We tested all these CPUs except for the E6600, which we could not get our hands on in time for our deadline.
The bottom line is, there is an increase in performance between each model of around ten percent, but, they are all very fast! Except for three tests (Cdex, Office XP and the World Bench 5 multitasking test) the E6400 was faster than AMD's top-of-the-range Athlon 64 FX-62.
The E6300 was competitive beyond its relatively paltry 1.86GHz frequency and the E6700, judging by its performance and price is perhaps the best CPU to choose if you want excellent performance for multithreaded and single threaded applications, but don't want to pay an 'extreme' price. In saying that, it's over 50 percent more expensive than the E6400, but only offers around 20 percent better performance than that CPU.
For sheer performance, you can't beat the Core 2 Duo. If you base a new system on any of the models we have tested, you won't be disappointed. Pricing for these chips starts from around $300, depending on your dealer, but be sure to buy a motherboard based on the Intel P965 chipset, as this is the optimal chipset for Core 2 Duo CPUs.
Core 2 Duo E6300 Price: $300
Core 2 Duo E6400 Price: $360
Core 2 Duo E6700 Price: $800
Join the newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Sport AT
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- New AMD processor spotted in Xbox console leak
- Intel's 10nm architecture will arrive in 2019
- AMD launch Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition
- AMD introduces 12nm Radeon RX 590 GPU
- Razer introduces the BlackWidow Lite
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies