Final Thoughts: What to buy?
It is impressive to find so much overclocking headroom in these Core 2 Duo processors, and that is headroom that does not require water-cooling. Using nothing more than the XP-120, which might I add is a rather old but trusted heatsink from Thermalright, and a quiet 120mm fan, the E6700 was more than happy to hum along to the tune of 3.66GHz.
The E6300 offered even more overclocking headroom, as it went from 1.86GHz to 3.03GHz using nothing more than the XP-120 with a 2500-RPM 120mm fan. The best part is these clock speeds can still be achieved with basic PC-6400 memory, as the P5W DH Deluxe offers a wide range of ratios for the memory. To obtain the maximum performance possible however, at least DDR2-900 memory will be required.
Something to notice is that even at 3.66GHz using a 1.400 voltage, the E6700 processor never exceeded 45 degrees when under load. Given a standard Pentium 4 660 processor would have a hard time achieving this, I was impressed to find the overclocked E6700 operating at such reasonable temperatures. The E6300 also reached roughly 45 degrees when stress testing, and at no time either overclocked system came unstuck.
Naturally, the performance of the overclocked Core 2 Duo E6700 processor was astonishing, as it is breathtaking at 2.66GHz, let alone 3.66GHz. For those seeking the ultimate Core 2 Duo experience the 4MB L2 Cache processors are a must as the additional cache really does make a difference when overclocking. However, the E6300 is a seriously good value processor, offering the best possible bang for your buck at just $180. Overclocked, the E6300 is somewhat comparable to the much more expensive E6700 as it was faster and then slower, depending on the application.
When it comes to picking the right Core 2 Duo processor I feel the choice is probably going to be quite easy. There is the performance option and then the performance enhanced option. The E6300 is fast enough to render any existing Intel processor obsolete once overclocked. Therefore the E6300 gets my vote for the best value performance option from the Core 2 Duo family. Those looking for a cheap means of getting Core 2 Duo performance will value what the E6300 has to offer.
Although the E6700 was impressive, the E6600 is considerably cheaper as you will save at least $200 on the later. Given both processors offer the 4MB L2 Cache and the E6700 is clocked just 260MHz higher, the E6600 is clearly a smarter option for the conservative types. Although I am yet to overclock an E6600 processor, I imagine the results would be much the same. That said, the E6700 is simply insane at 3.66GHz, being able to render 170 fps in Quake 4 using a single Radeon X1900XTX graphics card.
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