Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 – The New Budget Superstar?

by Rob Williams on April 21, 2008 in 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!

Page 14 – Final Thoughts

I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first received the E7200, but I am left very impressed overall. How could I not be? For what will retail for ~$150 USD, the E7200 offers great performance, good overclocking ability, cool temperatures and all of the other 45nm benefits. Tell me, what’s not to love?

The E7200 is in some ways a successor to the E4700, which sits at the same price point that this one will, if the rumored ~$133 price (/1,000) keeps in tact. That CPU is slightly faster at 2.6GHz, but utilizes a slower FSB of 800MHz, so the two even out in that regard. I regret not having an E4700 here to compare our E7200 to, but I’m confident the E7200 would walk away from most of our tests with the upper-hand.

I’ve boasted about the SSE4 instruction set in the past, and to me, it’s truly one of the biggest features for Intel’s 45nm line-up. Sadly, it’s also one of the least exploited right now, with only a handful of multi-media applications taking advantage of it. But where it is taken advantage of, extreme increases are bound to occur, as we saw with our TMPGEnc XPress and DivX results.

Overclocking-wise, I’m still a bit disappointed that I was unable to achieve identical overclocks to others around the Internet, but it’s hard to be upset when the overclocking I did accomplish was 100% stable. Right out of the box, the E7200 can sit at 3.0GHz without any voltage increase, which in itself makes it an impressive overclock. L2 Cache aside, that simple BIOS tweak turns this $150 CPU into a $200 one (E8400).

That raises the question, what about the E8400? Is it a worthy upgrade? In many regards, it could be. While the E7200 will likely sit at $150 USD once it hits e-tailers, the E8400 hovers between $200 – $205 at press time. Upgrading to that processor increases the frequency to 3.0GHz and adds more cache. It goes without saying that it’s a better chip, but it will be up to you to decide whether the upgrade is necessary.

The best feature of the E8400 over the E7200 is the added overclocking ability. In our review, we hit a staggering 3.825GHz on stock voltages, so yes, if you plan to overclock, then the added $50 to upgrade to an E8400 would be worth it. At stock, the E7200 would make a terrific choice, even without an overclock in the picture.

Simply put, the E7200 is an absolutely fantastic processor. It’s fast, inexpensive and is capable of tearing through all of our benchmarks with relative ease. Despite its low-end status, it’s even perfectly suited for gamers, as evidenced by our four games. When the E7200 delivers identical results at 2560×1600 as our QX9770 does… that says something.

Nowadays, it’s hard to make a wrong decision with your CPU purchase, but if you are building a new machine and can hold off until the E7200’s launch, you won’t regret it. All-around, it’s a fantastic choice.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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