Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 - Budget Penryn

Intel releases its budget 45nm Penryn CPU to bolster its Core 2 range. We test it up against Phenom X3.
Cameron Johnson
Published Mon, May 19 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:27 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Intel


IntroductionCore 2's family just keeps growing. Intel has really capitalised on a winning architecture. While Netburst got a few upgrades, there were never as many different variations of the same architecture to come out of the silicon giant.Core 2 began back when Conroe started a revolution in the way we work with dual core processors. AMDs true dual core Athlon X2 showed us that the old version of slapping two dies on a single package really didn't work, and despite Intel's attempts, Pentium D really was the worst CPU to ever come off the production line.Since then, Intel has finally learnt that a true dual core CPU could exist on its aging FSB system, but a new approach would be needed. This brought us the Core 2 Duo CPU. This works by placing the two cores on the same silicon wafer (unlike the Pentium D or Pentium Extreme Edition) and having them connected and communicating with each other through the Level 2 cache, which is a shared resource and depends on the model of the Core 2 CPU as to how much L2 cache you get.The original Core 2 Duo based on Conroe architecture had 2MB of shared Level 2 cache. Whole Penryn based CPUs came with 6MB. This is a huge jump in size, but what about a cheaper option? Well, Intel has now come out with its latest addition to the Core 2 line; welcoming the Core 2 Duo E7000 series. This new CPU is designed to take a more mainstream and value-end stand. Its intention is to compliment and replace the already popular E4000 series of Core 2 CPUs. Today we will be testing out what the Core 2 Duo E7000 series is capable of and will pit it against its direct competition; AMD's Phenom X3.

Core 2 Duo E7200 In Detail

Intel's Core 2 Duo E7200 in the flesh
Intel's Core 2 Duo E7200 CPU is the first of the 7000 series based around the Core 2 Duo architecture. The E7200 is designed to take its place amongst the more value and budget conscious users who don't want to compromise on the performance of their system. E7200 is the first of Intel's low budget CPUs to be based around the 45nm Penryn architecture. While this may not seem significant, its reduced transistor size means it can pack more on the same sized wafer than the Conroe. The smaller die size means cheaper production as well as a cooler running CPU overall; with cooler running meaning less noise from your system.
For the specs of the E7200 processor, it comes clocked at 2.53GHz. This is slower than the top of the line E4700 CPU of 2.66GHz. While this may seem like a step back, Intel has increased the operating FSB of the E7200 from 800MHz (200QDR) to 1066MHz (266QDR) with a multiplier of 9.5x. Cache on the E7200 has increased from the E4700's 2MB up to 3MB total. This will also give the E7200 a slight boost.
Running CPU-Z 1.44.2 we can see that the core is part of the Wolfdale based core like the E8000 series of Core 2 Duo. The stepping is M0 based and runs at 1.16v which is quite low compared to the older Core 2 Duos running Conroe cores. With the 45nm processor we now get SSE4.1 instructions that help increase the media encoding capabilities of the CPU compared to Conroe based models, so it has quite a few added extras thanks to Penryn's new wide dynamic architecture.

Test System Setup and Memory Performance

Test Systems Intel SystemMotherboard: Gigabyte X38-DQ6 (Supplied by Gigabyte)Memory: 2x 1GB DDR2-1186 Geil (Supplied by Geil)Hard Disk: 500GB Seagate 7200.9 (Supplied by Seagate Australia)Graphics Card: MSI GeForce 8800GTS 640MB (Supplied by MSI) Cooling: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1Drivers: Intel INF, Forceware 169.21AMD SystemMotherboard: ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe (Supplied by AMD)Memory: 2x 1GB DDR2-1186 Geil (Supplied by Geil)Hard Disk: 500GB Seagate 7200.9 (Supplied by Seagate Australia)Graphics Card: MSI GeForce 8800GTS 640MB (Supplied by MSI) Cooling: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista SP1Drivers: ATI Catalyst 8.3, Forceware 169.21Today we are pitting Core 2 Duo against the AMD Phenom X3 8750 based processor. These two processors are aimed at the same market share. While the E8750 is clocked at 2.4GHz, we clocked the processor up to 2.5GHz by changing the multiplier to allow for a clock for clock comparison of the two different processors.EVEREST Ultimate EditionVersion and / or Patch Used: 2006Developer Homepage: Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.comBuy It Here
EVEREST Ultimate Edition is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems.
Despite the FSB increase of the E7200, AMD's Phenom with its own CPU memory controller wins out here, hands down. AMDs key strength has been its memory performance, and the K8 / K10 family continues this.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage

PCMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedDeveloper Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: It Here
PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.
Using PCMark Vantage we see that AMD loses out to the Intel processor as Intel has managed to refine its instructions per clock to a fine art along with its wide dynamic architecture. It managed to really give the AMD a pounding.

Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0

Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0Developer Homepage: Product Homepage: It Here
Our test with Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 is performed with a raw two hour AVI file. It is then compressed into DivX format using the latest version codec. We measure the time it takes to encode and then record CPU usage.
With Vista, we see that AMD loses out quite a bit to the Intel Processor in media encoding which has been Intel's strong point, even with Netburst.

Benchmarks - Sysmark 2007 Preview

SYSmark 2007Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04Developer Homepage: Product Homepage:>
SYSmark 2007 Preview is the latest version of the premier performance metric that measures and compares PC performance based on real world applications.SYSmark 2007 Preview extends the SYSmark family, which has been widely accepted by IT Managers, PC OEMs, press and analysts worldwide to support Windows Vista™. SYSmark 2007 Preview allows users to directly compare platforms based on Windows Vista™ to those based on Windows XP Professional and Home.The new release also incorporates numerous new features and enhancements such as an improved GUI allowing streamlined start-up and run along with a heads-up-display (HUD) and automated error reporting.SYSmark 2007 Preview is an application-based benchmark that reflects usage patterns of business users in the areas of Video creation, E-learning, 3D Modeling and Office Productivity. This new release includes a robust and refreshed set of applications.
Moving into a full system test, again Intel's Core 2 Duo E7200 manages to win out hands down.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: It Here
3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.
Moving into the synthetic gaming we see Intel in front, but not with a huge margin like in our encode and overall system tests.

Benchmarks - Prey

PreyVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.2Timedemo or Level Used: Hardware OC Demo Developer Homepage: Product Homepage: http://www.prey.comBuy It Here
Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.
Prey however in the real world gives Intel a few FPS advantage over AMD here. This is where the E7200 will come into its own; real world games and media work.

Benchmarks - Battlefield 2142

Battlefield 2142Version and / or Patch Used: 1.25Timedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: Product Homepage: Buy It Here
In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers - the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition -in an epic battle for survival. Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also take control of the most lethal vehicles known to man. Massive Battle Walkers wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When taking on this futuristic armor players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new hi-tech countermeasures like EMP grenades and smart mines to level the playing field.
Putting more stress on the system gives Intel an even greater lead over the Phenom X3.

Benchmarks - Far Cry

Far CryVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.3Timedemo or Level Used: Benchemall Default Demo(download here)Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.comProduct Homepage: http://www.farcrygame.comBuy It Here
While Far Cry is now one of our older benchmarking games, it is still able to put pressure on most computers systems as it is able to utilize all parts of the system. Utilizing PS2.0 technology with the latest versions supporting Shader Model 3.0 with DX9c and offering an exceptional visual experience, there is no denying that even some of the faster graphics cards get a bit of a workout.
In our last gaming test we see that Intel manages to keep ahead of AMD quite well.

Power Consumption Tests

Power ConsumptionWe are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into an AC wall socket).There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD-ROM or many cooling fans.So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
Power usage between the two systems is almost identical. This is a bit of a defeat for Intel as the X38 chipset is a power monger, but one of the best DDR2 chipset boards we have.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsIntel has managed to once again augment its Core 2 Duo line of processors with another winner. While we normally focus on quad core and high-end power from the Chipzilla, Core 2 Duo has some really good budget parts, and none are better than the E7200.While it comes clocked at a slower 2.53GHz compared to the higher clock of the E4700s 2.66GHz, the higher bus speed of 1066MHz, an extra 1MB of L2 cache and its 45nm construction of the Penryn architecture gives the E7200 a greater feature set while managing to keep its power consumption down and continue to offer some extremely good performance.If you're looking for something for a HTPC or digital home setup, you're not going to be disappointed with an E7200. It has more than enough power to do fast media encoding; its memory bandwidth is excellent thanks to its 1066MHz FSB and its 45nm die makes it more power efficient than the older E4000 series.
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