Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Review

ccokeman - 2008-07-26 19:49:20 in CPU's
Category: CPU's
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 16, 2008
Price: $119.99

Introduction:

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?

Closer Look:

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.

 

Specifications:

Family
Wolfdale
Number of cores
2
CPU Speed
2.53GHz
Bus Speed
1066MHz
Bus/Core Ratio
9.5
L2 Cache size
3MB
L2 Cache Speed
2.53GHz
Package Type
LGA 775
Manufacturing Technology
45nm
Core Stepping
M0
CPUID String
10676h
Thermal Design Power
65w
Thermal Specification
74.1C
Core Voltage
0.85V – 1.3625V
Transistor count
400+ million

 

 

 

Features:

 

Testing:

The Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 processor will be put through our benchmarking suite to see what kind of performance the motherboard delivers. The OverclockersClub series of benchmarks include both system tests and gaming benchmarks to verify the performance of this product. Testing will include a direct comparison of several processors, including stock speed benchmarking. CPU clock speed will be kept at the manufacturer specified clock speed and multiplier for the baseline testing. All motherboard and video card settings were left at setup defaults, again to eliminate any variables. The overclocking phase of the testing will be accomplished by using all of the available settings on the motherboard to gain the maximum performance from the little E7200. It may seem strange to test the E7200 against a slew of quad core processors and only one dual core, but this will be one more chip to add to the simmering dual core vs. quad core debate.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Testing Setup AMD:

 

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

After installing the E7200 into the socket and buttoning up the case, the one thing I forgot to do was reset the CMOS after changing the processor. Oops! This realization came just as I pushed the power button to fire the rig up. I figured a failed boot attempt was in my future because the E8400 I had just finished testing was running at 4.00GHz set at 500x8 with 1.375 volts to it. Sweet jumping Jehoshaphat! It booted up and right into Windows with not so much as a hiccup! This was indeed promising. Pushing the clock speeds higher would allow the computer to boot but nowhere near stable and nowhere near sane voltages needed to get it much higher. It took 1.39 volts to get to 4050MHz but to go higher Prime stable required ridiculously high voltages. I dont mind pushing it but when running LinPack the temperatures spiked to 110 degrees right off the bat with the volts at the 1.55 I used to run the E8400 up to 4.5GHz. So knowing where my maximum speed was, I decided to see what kind of FSB I could get from the board and E7200. I dropped the multiplier down to 7 and started at 525FSB since this was the limit on the E8400. No problem! Moving in 5MHz increments I finally reached that wall at 545FSB. At this point it was time to start upping the multiplier to find the best mix of FSB and maximum speed that the E7200 would run at. 540 x 7 is the final overclock for this chip. Not quite the 2.0GHz worth of overclock I had originally thought possible but you gotta think, 1.55GHz worth of performance gained with a little work ain't too shabby. To get there on this combo required a voltage increase on the northbridge, changing the skew level for the CPU, adjustments the the vtt voltage and of course, an increase on the CPU voltage.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. SpecviewPerf 10
  4. PCMark Vantage Professional
  5. Sandra XII
  6. ScienceMark 2.02
  7. Cinebench 10
  8. HD Tune 2.54
  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Call of Juarez
  7. Company of Heros-Opposing Fronts
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional

 

Testing:

The first part of our testing regimen will be the system specific benchmarks.

 

Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is Better

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

 

ZIP:

 

 

 

RAR:

 

 

 

In Apophysis, the little E7200 came in just ahead of the Q6600 and Phenom, the clock speed being slightly higher had an impact on performance here. It still fell far short of the higher clocked CPUs but fell into its niche against the Q9300. In the WinRAR Zip testing, the E7200 gave most of the other chips a run for their money. When it comes tho the RAR testing, the worth of a quad core CPU is painfully obvious in the 500MB test.

 

Testing:

Specview 10 is a benchmark designed to test OpenGL performance. I will be using the multi-threaded tests to measure the performance when run in this mode. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default multi-threaded tests were chosen to be able to compare across platforms. In these tests, higher scores equate to better performance. Since the E8400 is a Dual core CPU on the two thread test will be run in Specview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Higher is Better

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

PcMark Vantage is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual board to see which board, if any, rises above the others.

 

Comparing how the E7200 scored against the other CPUs, it is just thoroughly outclassed, even by the E8400. Lower bus speed and less L2 cache could be part of the equation.

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key areas of the motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

Memory Latency

 

Cache and Memory

 

File System

 

Physical Disks

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

The E7200 performs where it should in the Sandra testing. The performance most closely matched that of the Q6600 in the memory bandwidth testing due to having the same core clock frequency of 1066MHz. When overclocked, the performance advantage still rested with the quad core processors.

 

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better!

 

Cinebench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

Higher is Better

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

Higher is Better

 

 

Lower is Better

 

In the Sciencemark testing the E7200 actually beat out the Q6600 and Phenom and came close to the Q9300's performance. In Cinebench, the E7200 again beat out the Q6600, Phenom 9650, and the Q9300 in the single thread test. The multi-CPU test shows that the E7200 does not have what it takes to outperform the quad core CPUs. The drive testing will show little, if any, difference in this test.

 

Testing:

Crysis has been out for quite some time now. In that time, there's yet to be a single or multi-GPU setup that can fully showcase the graphics performance of the game.  The Crysis single player demo includes both CPU and GPU benchmarks to test the performance of your processor and video card.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quad core CPUs definitely have an advantage in Crysis. The difference in frame rate between the highest and lowest scoreing CPU is four FPS at 1920x1200.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of real time strategy and simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dual core CPUs seemed to do better than the quads in this benchmark. Kind of brings back memories of a dual vs. quad debate on gaming.

 

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games that I have played, chronicling the building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong, with its inhabitants driven mad by the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now, Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory, with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left, while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddies." It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This First Person Shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played. The environment, as well as the storyline, will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Settings:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the results in Bioshock add a little more kindling to the fire. The dual core processors just outperform the quads.

 

Testing:

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare is the successor to the Call of Duty crown. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a U.S. Marine or British S.A.S. trooper. SInce this game does not feature an in-game test, I will run through a section of the game and measure average FPS using Fraps 2.9.3.

 

The settings used are listed below:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The E7200 falls in just below the performance of the E8400. The Q9300 has the same clock speed as the E7200 and outperforms the dual core in all but one resolution.

 

Testing:

World in Conflict: Released last year, World in Conflict is a Real Time Strategy game that simulates the all-out war the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game is that it is not the typical "generate wealth and build" type of game. Instead, you advance by conquering your foe with limited opportunities to replenish your troops.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THe performance of the E7200 has the lowest performance at 1920x1200. The only CPU it outperformed at all was the Phenom at 1024x768 and 1280x1024.

 

Testing:

Call of Juarez is a DirectX10 First Person Shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800s. The game is inspired in part by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played as both single player and multiplayer. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dual core CPU performed better in this scenario than the quad cores did at 1920x1200.

 

Testing

Benchmark: Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts)

Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts) is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The mission is Operation Market Garden, the first Allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This real time strategy game is brought to us by Relic Entertainment.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THe E7200 outperformed everything at the 1680x1050 resolution but the Phenom in this benchmark. The Phenom was the top performer at all four resolutions in this benchmark.

 

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The E7200 just could not compete with the quad core CPUs in this benchmark. When a CPU with more than two cores was used, the results were decidedly higher. Even when overclocked, the E7200 barely beat the stock scores of the quads at 1920x1200.

 

Conclusion:

Performing about where it should, the E7200 just does not deliver the goods consistently when compared to a similar speed quad core processor. In the gaming benchmarks it did fairly well overall. In quite a few benchmarks the little dual did overtake the quad core scores. In games where having more than two cores appears to be beneficial, the E7200 was outperformed. It did put up a good fight rather than laying down and just performing miserably. Sporting a high 9.5 multiplier and a 1066MHz core clock speed and only 3MB of L2 cache versus the 1333MHz core clock speeds of most of the other CPUs in the review (exceptions being the Q6600 and Phenom) and 6MB or more on the balance of the quad cores, my expectations were not really that high. When you go into it thinking that this $120 CPU wont even be competitive, I was pleasantly surprised. The gaming scores were reasonably close to those of the E8400 and when overclocked, there was a decent performance increase to make going after the additional MHz worthwhile. Speaking of additional MHz, the E7200 ended up with a massive 1.5GHz overclock at the end of the day. On a percentage basis, this is a 66% increase over the stock speed of 2.53GHz. Most, if not all, of the dual core CPUs I have had will make it to 500MHz on the front side bus speed. This little bugger pushed up to 540FSB, which when taken as a percentage based increase, would be over 100% (266 x 2 = 532MHz). For the $120 asking price, this is a steal to get an honest to goodness 4GHz CPU. Did I say these results were on air? No, you say? Well yes, they were. In fact, with the 4GHz tune, the E7200 runs at a cool 43 to 46 degrees Celsius under load. The only downside to this chip, if you can really even call it that, is the 1066MHz bus speed. This speed went by the wayside for a while but it is back now with the E7200 and E7300 MO stepping CPUs. If your build is under a severe budget crunch and you need to keep that build price down, the E7200 is not really a bad way to go if all you really want to do is game and the usual web browsing to your Myspace page. It offers decent stock performance and overclocks like no tomorrow to give you 4GHz performance that fits just about any budget.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: