Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Reviewccokeman -
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The 45nm Intel Core 2 processors have been a godsend to overclocking enthusiasts. Many of these CPUs are providing big time overclocks that can be used day in and day out to increase your gaming performance or just your general computing tasks. The recently released E8600 has been breaking overclocking records left and right, currently the highest I have seen is just over 6.5GHz; of course, that's under some extreme cooling provided by liquid nitrogen. Having looked at a series of dual core as well as quad core CPUs that include the E8400 and E8500 and have seen the quads from the lowly Q9300 to the mainstream Q9450 all the way to the top of heap with the QX9770, you have to wonder if the E7200 can keep up the tradition of high performance as well as offering massive overclocking ability.
In addition, we saw how the E8400 did in our gaming tests when compared to the quad core CPUs, so my expectation is that the E7200 will follow in its footsteps even if it takes a good overclock to do it considering the lack of L2 cache and lower 2.53GHz clock speed. Let's see just what the E7200 has to offer the performance enthusiast. Will it be just a lower performing dual core or will it show some real muscle?
The E7200 comes to OCC dressed in the standard Intel retail packaging. The front panel identifies this CPU as a 45nm Intel Core 2 DUo product with 3MB of shared L2 cache. The rear panel offers up warranty information, basic specifications and a motherboard compatibility warning. The cooling solution can be seen through the center of the rear panel and contains a serial number that you will need if you ever do need to use the warranty. So hold on to the stock cooling solution.
The top panel of the retail box shows the E7200. This way you can verify what you are purchasing. Another bonus for the overclocker is to look at the stepping and specific codes on the IHS that may indicate where on the wafer that little bit of silcon comes from. The side panel offers much of the same information and includes a packing date for the product. If steppings and pack dates don't really mean much, it's time to move on.
Once pulled from the box, the inner plastic shell holds the E7200, the heatsink and the information and installation booklet. The CPU is kept away from the heatsink by several different layers of plastic to make sure that there will be no contact during shipping.
The stock heatsink is much slimmer than the heatsink used on the Core 2 Duo 65nm CPUs. The lower voltage used to run the 45nm CPUs make the reduction in size possible. This CPU will run on 1.075 volts, significantly lower than the 1.275 to 1.325 or higher seen on the 65nm CPUs. The fan on the heatsink is controlled dynamically by the motherboard when all of the energy saving features on the motherboard are used. It can be pushed to a constant 100% fan speed if needed though just by adjusting a few settings in the BIOS. The heatsink comes with a pre applied thermal compound that, when compressed, spreads out nicely to make sure there are no gaps in the thermal compound that could lead to overheating.
The E7200 is a 45nm CPU the runs at a clock speed of 266MHz (1066MHz QDR) with a clock multiplier of 9.5 to give a final clock speed of 2.53GHz. The CPU uses 3MB of shared L2 cache and is designed to be used in an LGA775 socket based motherboard. This chip comes with two different spec codes, SLAVN and SLAPC. Both are MO stepping chips rated at 65watts with a thermal design spec of 74.1 degrees Celsius.
So just how well will the E7200 perform with a 500MHz reduction in speed and 3MB less L2 cache than the E8400? Let's find out if this makes a substantial difference in performance.