Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 and E6700 Review - Conroe is Here
The X6800 and E6700 Processors
Intel's Core 2 Duo processor use the same LGA775 packaging that the previous Pentium D and Pentium XE processors used and should be familiar to most of our readers. In fact, the motherboard we used for our tests was the Intel 975XBX motherboard provided by Intel.
Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 on the left; Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 on the right
Unfortunately, this does not mean that your current, or currently available LGA775 motherboard, is capable of running a Conroe processor. Due to a couple of changes in voltage regulation to the Core 2 Duo core, nearly all the motherboards that have already been sold will NOT support these processors. That means you'll need to look at a new motherboard if you want Intel's Core 2 Duo in your system. The Intel 975XBX motherboard we tested with was a new revision that had the appropriate fixes made.
Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 on the left; Intel Pentium XE 965 on the right
Intel is launching an entire line of Core 2 Duo processors today, not just the flagship models. This top-to-bottom release, much like AMD did with their AM2 launch last month, allows Intel to aggressively attack any part of the market. Let's take a look at the models that will be available soon and what their expected price points are:
Source: Intel Corp.
As of today, these are the 1K prices set forth by Intel for their desktop dual-core processors. The X6800, the flagship desktop processor, takes the $999 price tag as the top performing part and runs at 2.93 GHz with a 1066 MHz FSB (266 MHz quad-pumped) with a full 4MB of L2 cache. The next four CPUs decrease in 266 MHz steps and the E6400 and E6300 have only 2MB of L2 cache compared with the 4MB of the E6700 and E6600. The 945, 915, 820 and 805 processors are from previous generations of Intel cores and are not Core 2 Duo products.
The pricing of the E6700 and E6600 parts are what most impresses me -- at less than half of the cost of the X6800, these CPUs are going to be the sweet spot for enthusiasts and overclockers; I'd bet money on that. We'll touch more on it after we look at the performance numbers.
The Intel 975XBX Board
The Intel 975XBX motherboard we used in our testing looks just like the previous version, with a few changes that are required for Conroe compatibility. The 975X chipset also support CrossFire, and since this board also has three full-size PCI Express slots on it, it could theoretically hold three GPUs for physics processing as well, as we saw at Computex last month.