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Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 – The New Budget Superstar?
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by Rob Williams on April 21, 2008 in Intel Processors

At 2.53GHz and $133 USD, the E7200 promises to become the new Dual-Core budget superstar. After taking a hard look at the upcoming offering, we would have to readily agree. Overclocking only sweetens the deal further, with 3.0GHz on stock voltages being more than possible. We have a winner!

Introduction

Intel helped launch their 45nm processors with the QX9650 in November, and then proceeded to release their mid-range Dual-Cores in late January and finally, their low-end and mid-range Quad-Cores late last month. So you might be asking, “where are the low-end Dual-Cores?” Good question, and one we’ll help answer today.

The E7200 will be the first “value” model that Intel will launch, and for the most part, it’s kind of like a Q9300 split right down the middle. The difference is that while the Q9300 utilizes a 1333MHz FSB, the E7200 sticks to the “stock” option of the 65nm models, at 1066MHz FSB. This in itself is a big improvement, since the most comparable 65nm Dual-Core, the E4700, uses an 800MHz FSB.

The rumored launch date for the E7200 is next month, but that conflicts with the “Q2″ launch date that Intel’s press relations gave us. Similar to the 45nm Quad-Core launch, Intel likely still has many 65nm low-end Dual-Cores and would like to clear some of them out first, before officially launching the E7200 and others. So at this point, the release date is up in the air, but it will probably prove a lot sooner than later.

With its unique 9.5x multiplier, the E7200 hits a stock clock frequency of 2.53GHz and includes 3 MB of L2 cache, 1.5 MB per core. This is unlike the mid-range Dual-Cores, such as the E8400, which includes 6 MB of L2 cache. Whether or not that decrease will affect performance is something our benchmarks will help explain.

Closer Look at the Core 2 Duo E7200

Like the E4xxx series before it, the E7xxx series is designed for value-conscious consumers who want a solid CPU that will help get the job done. They don’t boast extreme performance, but as we’ve come to find out well over the past few years, even Intel’s lower-end Core 2 Duo offerings are well worth the time… even with overclocking out of the picture.

The E7200 still contains a 65W TDP, so while it’s a lower-end model, it’s not meant to be more energy-efficient over the mid-range E8xxx series. Thanks to 45nm enhancements however, improved efficiency should result in an overall wattage drain decrease over previous 65nm products.

Processor Name
Cores
Clock
Cache
FSB
TDP
1Ku Price
Available
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775
4
3.20GHz
2 x 6MB
1600MHz
150W
$1,499
Now
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770
4
3.20GHz
2 x 6MB
1600MHz
136W
$1,399
Now
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650
4
3.0GHz
2 x 6MB
1333MHz
130W
$999
Now
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
4
2.86GHz
2 x 6MB
1333MHz
95W
$530
Now
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450
4
2.66GHz
2 x 6MB
1333MHz
95W
$316
Now
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300
4
2.5GHz
2 x 3MB
1333MHz
95W
$266
Now
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
2
3.16GHz
6MB
1333MHz
65W
$266
Now
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
2
3.00GHz
6MB
1333MHz
65W
$183
Now
Intel Core 2 Duo E8200
2
2.66GHz
6MB
1333MHz
65W
$163
Now
Intel Core 2 Duo E8190
2
2.66GHz
6MB
1333MHz
65W
$163
Now
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
2
2.53GHz
3MB
1066MHz
65W
~$133
May 2008

The E7200 would prove a great choice for most anyone, regardless of the intention. It would fit well in a general-use PC, it could well handle high-definition content in an HTPC, and even has the power to deliver superb gaming performance, as we’ll see later. For the projected $133 USD (to retailer) price, the E7200 looks to be one heck of a offering.


Top Left: E7200, Top Right: E8400, Bottom: QX9650

To recap, while we are unsure of the actual release date and price, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it launch next month with a $133USD (/1,000) price tag. Rumors have been rampant, so it could very well happen. We’re just not willing to put money on it quite yet.

So, let’s get right to some benchmarking! On the following page, we explain in-depth how our testing methodology works, then we’ll jump into our SYSmark and PCMark tests, followed by many more.