Overclocking and Final Thoughts
The Core 2 Duo E7200 looks to be the new must-have processor for budget users. At a little over $130, why wouldnt that be? The level of performance produced by this low-end processor is incredible not only when compared to its direct AMD competition, but also other more expensive Intel processors.
Although the E8400 did have a clear advantage with its superior clock frequency, the E7200 was able to take on the Q6600 in a number of tests.
When you consider the fact that the Core 2 Duo E7200 was almost able to power a GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics card just as well as the E8400, the feat becomes even more impressive. In most cases, the E7200 stacked up rather well against the much more expensive Phenom X3 8750 processor, while more often than not it showed up the Phenom X3 8450, which also costs more.
Clearly the E7200 is targeted at the new Phenom X3 series, and as the first installment of the E7000 series it has done a great job taking out the competition.
With pretty much no games making good use of more than two cores, the Phenom X3 triple core processors have no real advantage over a processor such as the E7200 when gaming. Therefore, if AMD wishes to become truly competitive in this market segment, the Phenom X3s will need to become even cheaper.
Furthermore, the E7200 can be easily turned into an E8400 by increasing the FSB. When selecting the 1333MHz FSB you get a 3.16GHz clock frequency which actually makes the E7200 faster than the E8400 despite only featuring half as much L2 cache.
Without having to increase the CPU voltage we were able to get our E7200 processor as far as 3.60GHz. With a little extra voltage 3.80GHz was also achievable. Even when 3.80GHz doesn't sound quite as impressive as the 4.40GHz that our E8400 processor is capable of, it's not exactly disappointing, particularly for a $133 processor.
But of course not everyone is interested in overclocking, and thankfully at stock speeds the E7200 is still a very powerful dual-core processor. Given todays DDR2 memory prices, it would be possible to pair the E7200 with 4GB of memory and an Intel P35 motherboard capable of reaching at least 3.60GHz for under $300. This makes the Core 2 Duo E7200 quite an attractive upgrade solution for those running outdated hardware.
The new Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 delivers on all fronts. Not only is this processor reasonably fast, it's also dirt cheap, power efficient, and has that amazing Core 2 overclocking ability that we have grown so accustomed to.