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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.11.08]
Manufactured by: Intel



Now the Conroe and Kentsfield were actually quite famous for their overclocking ability. Many people report getting up to and above 3.5-3.7 GHz just with aircooling and a decent motherboard and ram. This certainly reflects our experience with the processors.

Naturally, whenever a new architecture is introduced, it already has a higher 'ceiling' due to the fact that it is simply a new product intended to be sold at higher clock speeds at a later time. Therefore, when Intel announced the cooler, more efficient, lower voltage Penryn core, people were excited to see how it would overclock.

With the E8500, we dove right in to see how high it would go with a stock Intel cooler. We cranked the VCore up to 1.5v, toned down the memory timings to 5-5-5-17, and started cranking up FSB timings. As you know from our review, the Abit IP35 Pro has a lot of headroom to spare.

After some trial and error, and a ton of stability testing, we settled on a FSB of 460 MHz. With a 9.5x multiplier, this comes to a successful overclock of 4.37 GHz.

4.37 GHz, from 3.16 GHz. With stock cooling. Although it took quite a bit of voltage to get there, that is still very impressive, and a good sign for all Wolfdale based processors.

What more can I say about the newest Intel Core 2 Duo processor based on the Wolfdale core? The numbers speak for themselves really. But let's summarize:

  • The E8500 is significantly faster in all CPU-bound scenarios than the similarly priced E6750 it replaces
  • It absolutely kills the poor Athlon 64 X2 6400+, which desperately needs to be replaced
  • It keeps up with Kentsfield-based multi-core processors, in some scenarios (obviously not the more heavily-threaded applications)
  • In non-CPU bound scenarios, it is still quite a bit faster than previous dual-core processors
  • It runs a lot cooler than other dual-core desktop processors, with a TDP of 75W
  • It runs more efficient than other dual-core desktop processors, and is even more efficient than the prior quad-core architecture in CPU-bound multi-threaded scenarios
  • It will only get better, as more programs make use of its enhancements
  • It overclocks like a mother...

There is no question - the Core 2 Duo E8xxx and E7xxx based on the Wolfdale core is easily the best choice for those looking to build a new dual-core system.

What about quad-core though? After all, the Q6600 has dropped enough in price that it can be considered along with the E8500. That really depends on what you will be doing most with your system. The Q6600 has an advantage in one way, and one way only - multi-threaded performance. If you do a significant amount of this kind of computing, then that is the only case where the quad-core should be considered.

The jump from single-threaded to two threads was seemingly painless and somewhat swift. However, it is taking longer for programmers to efficiently make use of more than that. Therefore, dual core seems to be the sweet spot, with its higher clock speeds and lower power consumption.