The Core 2 range has been highly successful for Intel, delivering unbeatable performance at a price many have been unable to refuse.

It was almost a year ago that the original Core 2 Duo line-up was released, consisting of the E6700, E6600, E6400 and E6300 processors. And now a year later, the "Allendale" dual-core 65nm processor series have been released featuring an (slower) 800MHz quad-pumped FSB with even more affordable prices.

The Allendale series is made up of the Core 2 Duo E4300 and E4400 processors. Of course, there are also quad-core Kentsfield core processors, such as the Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Q6700, as well as the Core 2 Extreme QX6800. What this means is that Intel has Core 2 processors ranging in price from $120 all through $1300.

However, not to be outdone with such a successful product Intel has quietly unleashed a few new - even more affordable - dual-core processors based on the Allendale core. Intel is relaunching the ever so popular "Pentium" brand name. However this time the new Pentiums will not be taking the lead as Intel's flagship products. Rather they will bridge the ever so small price point between the existing Core 2 Duo E4000 series and the upcoming "Conroe-L" Celeron 400 series.

So what are these new Pentium dual-core processors? Well, in essence they are stripped down Conroe processors featuring a tiny 1MB L2 cache with an 800MHz Front Side Bus (Conroe processors have a 4MB L2 cache and use a 1066/1333MHz FSB).

There are two versions currently available, the Pentium E2140 (1.6GHz) and the E2160 (1.8GHz). Clocked at 1.8GHz the E2160 matches the E4300 in terms of clock speed while featuring half as much L2 cache. The E2140 on the other hand is now the slowest desktop "Core 2" processor, clocked at just 1.6GHz. Although list price for both of these CPUs is slightly cheaper, for the time being retail cost around the web is about $99 for the E2160, while the E2140 is priced at around $84.

Architecture Cache Clock
FSB Dual-core Intel
Disable Bit
E2160 65 nm 1MB L2 1.80 GHz 800 MHz
E2140 65 nm 1MB L2 1.60 GHz 800 MHz
T2130 65 nm 1MB L2 1.86 GHz 533 MHz  
T2080 65 nm 1MB L2 1.73 GHz 533 MHz  
T2060 65 nm 1MB L2 1.60 GHz 533 MHz  

This is very interesting because the Conroe-L series is due out any day now, comprising of the Celeron 430 and 440 processors clocked at 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz with 512KB of L2 cache. Realistically these processors should perform reasonably well and will no doubt overclock to extreme frequencies like all Conroe processors. Furthermore, both processors will have to be priced below the $80 mark, which would provide consumers with an extremely low-cost processor that is capable of delivering decent performance.

But for now we have the Pentium E2140 and E2160 processors, which we will be comparing to the Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, E4400, E6300, E6320, E6400 and E6420 processors. While we go through the performance numbers, please keep in mind that the E2140 is just $30 cheaper than the E4300, while the E4400 costs roughly $40 more than the E2160. Let's move on to check out how well these Pentium dual-core processors perform with just 1MB of L2 cache!