Pros: Dual Wolfdale cores, 45nm die, 1Mb L2 cache, extreme value
Cons: slow clock speed masks true capabilities
A coworker recently asked me how he could upgrade an older HP Pavilion A6000 desktop computer so he could run some 3D games on it for his children. I already knew the Intel E1400 Celeron was a bad choice for an upgrade and the Pentium chip he had in the HP Pavilion was not going to help him either. After looking at the Intel E3300 2.5Ghz Dual-Core Celeron on Ebay.com, I decided to buy it and try it out on my overclocking workstation first. The E3300 features a 45nm die and over 1Mb of total cache so it had all the right features to be a decent processor. The low $30 price tag on Ebay.com sealed the deal.
To save a large sum of cash on your next custom computer system, you should use the Intel E3300 instead of a more expensive Intel i7 based motherboard. In fact, the latest popular pc game, Dragon Age 2 by Electronic Arts will work just fine with this processor. Instead, spend your money on a great graphics card to power through the 3D graphics in this Electronic Arts game. The EVGA GeForce GTX 580 1536 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card should be purchased along with the Intel E3300 microprocessor. However, before you try it out, I highly recommend reading this review carefully to understand what you might be missing as far as speed.
How the Intel E3300 SLGU4 Socket 775 processor respond to overclocking?
How can you pick the right gaming parts for your new Intel E3300 Celeron Dual-Core cpu?
Read On To Find Out!
The Intel Celeron E3300 2.5Ghz Dual Core Uses Conroe Micro Architecture
The Intel Socket 775 uses two distinct micro architecture families: Pentium and Core 2. Initially, the Pentium was the first introduced in the line with dual core capability but it featured no hyperthreading. Intel soon realized that the Pentium architecture was not going to compete with advancements from AMD so they redesigned the core of their processors. The Conroe core was the first Intel Core 2 Duo branded processor ever offered to the desktop computer market. The Conroe is a replacement for the Pentium D and Pentium 4 branded cpus that were as much as 40% slower than their new counterparts. The first generation, the Conroe, was produced using a 65nm manufacturing process.
The Intel Celeron E3300 is from the Core 2 family, Wolfdale line. The die is 45nm with 1024Kb of L2 Cache. The front side bus is clocked at 800Mhz. Since, the FSB of the Intel E3300 is just 800Mhz, you computer will be bottlenecked with slow memory access speeds. As a saving grace to this architecture limitation, the Conroe core does offer 40% less power consumption when compared to the scorching disaster, the Intel Pentium D. The only way to make accommodate for the lack of front side bus speed in the E3300 Dual-core is to overclock it directly at this point. As you see in the following section of this review, you can get some very promising results!
Overclocking And Performance Testing The Intel Celeron E1400
The Intel Celeron E3300 Socket 775 Processor will overclock quite well to 3.125Ghz with the help of Artic Silver heat sink compound applied to the die surface. For the testing portion of this review, I used a ASUS P5QL-VM DO/CSM LGA775 motherboard, Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB (1GBx4) DDR2 1066 all running under Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit edition. I was able to overclock the Celeron to 3.125Ghz using a Scythe SCMN-1100 MINE Rev.B 3 Heat Pipes CPU Cooler. The problem came with loading Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. The computer would freeze after just a few minutes at 3.25Ghz. Even after bumping the vCore in the ASUS P5QL bios to +150, the processor still refused to boot into Windows 7.
Super Pi V1.1 is an application that extrapolates the specified digits of PI into a text file. Since the task is both processor and file system intensive it can give you an idea of how fast your cpu is. Processors with large on-die cache sizes and high bus speeds tend to do better in this benchmark. The problem is the calculation is single threaded in this version so you only see the performance of one processor with this version of the benchmarking suite.
In this test, I analyzed the performance using the 1,000,000 digits of Pi calculation. I overclocked the Intel Core 2 Duo E3300 to different frequencies and ran the test 3 times and reported the shortest time returned in the list below. As a cross reference, I also provided the benchmark results from other processors that I tested in the past few years in order of seconds that they took to complete.
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.5 Ghz, stock speed: 24 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.777 Ghz, overclocked: 21 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.125 Ghz, overclocked: 19 seconds
Here is how the Intel E3300 Dual Core stacks up against the competition in Super Pi:
Intel Celeron 352, 3.20Ghz: 44 seconds
Intel Pentium 4 915, 2.80Ghz: 43 seconds
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 2.4Ghz processor: 21 seconds
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600, 3.33Ghz: 13 seconds
The Intel Q6600 Quad Core with its 2400Mhz clock speed was able to edge out the E3300 in this list because of its healthy 4Mb of cache. The front side bus of this E3300 Dual-core Celeron is also a paltry 800Mhz which reduces the number of memory calls the processor can make in a measurable period of time. Conclusive proof that clock speed, even on the Core 2 chip, is not the only requirement for pure, number crunching, power.
POV-Ray 3.7 RC2 64Bit
A new version of the freeware 3D animation utility has been released that offers SSE2 enhanced processing extensions. POV -Ray stresses the floating point unit and memory bandwidth of the processor to render stunning 2D images. The raytracing software package also makes use of all available logical cpu cores in your computer system to render images. For this reason, POV is my processor benchmarking package of choice!
For this test, I am using the benchmark.pov file with QuickRes.ini value of 512x384 NO AA since it is provided with all new installations of POV.
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.5 Ghz, stock speed: 4 minutes 0 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.777 Ghz, overclocked: 3 minutes 36 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.125 Ghz, overclocked: 3 minutes 12 seconds
For a quick comparison, take at look at what these AMD processors can do with the same benchmark.
AMD Sempron 140 Socket AM3 2.7Ghz Processor: 13 minutes 11 seconds
Intel E1400 Celeron Dual Core 2.0 Ghz, stock speed: 5 minutes 51 seconds
AMD 1090T 3.2GHz Phenom II X6 Six-Core Processor: 3 minutes 53 seconds
Looking at how these various other AMD and Intel processors performed in this benchmark gives us a clear picture of the effect that increased cache size can have with rendering times. The added 512Kb of cache on the Intel E3300 cut 1 minute 51 seconds off the benchmark time when compared to its cousin the Intel E1400.
wPrime Multithreaded Benchmark Version 2.04
My new favorite operating system is Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit edition. Trying to find a new processor benchmark has been a challenge for me because I want to analyze multiple threads at once but also want a program that works with a wide range of operating systems. wPrime seems to fit these criteria so with this review, I will begin reporting results with it.
wPrime uses a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.
Each thread is designed to do 1/n of the work, where n is the number of threads. For example, if you're calculating 16 roots on 4 CPU's, each CPU will calculate 4 roots. Some might argue that this style of threading is unrealistic in real-time performance, but in fact is quite indicative of performance in several real world tasks such as F@H which allows you to run several instances of the work at any one time.
The results of wPrime Benchmarking, through four rounds of overclocking the Intel E3300 are provided in the list below.
wPrime v2.04 at 32M:
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.5 Ghz, stock speed: 36.24 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.777 Ghz, overclocked: 32.70 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.000 Ghz, overclocked: 30.25 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.125 Ghz, overclocked: 28.39 seconds
wPrime v2.04 at 1024M:
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.5 Ghz, stock speed: 1141.13 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 2.777 Ghz, overclocked: 1031.44 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.000 Ghz, overclocked: 948.12 seconds
Intel E3300 Celeron Dual Core 3.125 Ghz, overclocked: 906.81 seconds
An Intel QX9650 3.00Ghz 12Mb was able to complete wPrime at 1024M in 474 seconds on the same motherboard and operating system configuration. When compared to the 3.00Ghz overclocked E3300 wPrime 1024M result, we can see that this processor competes quite well with its heftier cousin if you were to reduce the time by half. In today's NVIDIA gaming world, you only need a processor with good single threaded performance. For this reason alone, I think you can manage with just the Intel E3300 in your next computer.
Intel Celeron E3300 Dual Core Wolfdale Specifications
Core Stepping / Model: SLGU4
Product Name: Celeron Dual-Core E3300
Core Code Name: Wolfdale-3M
Cpu Frequency: 2500Mhz
Physical Cpu Cores: 2
Hyperthreading Cores: 0
Level 1 Cache Size 2x32Kb Data; 2x32Kb Instruction
Level 2 Cache Size: 1024Kb
Level 3 Cache Size: 0Kb
Manufacturing Die: 45nm
64bit Operating System Support: Yes
Instruction Sets Supported: MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, EM64T
How To Pick The Right Parts For Your Intel E3300 Computer System
The Intel E3300 SLGU4 Socket 775 processor is compatible with a wide range of motherboards due to its relatively low power draw and 800Mhz front side bus. Since many Dell and HP desktop computers still use slower processors, you can build your own computer and save a lot of money in the process.
Recommended DDR2 Memory
The low front side bus speed also has another benefit for the computer system builder, cheaper DDR2 memory. Kingston DDR2 memory comes in a Value Ram series which is very low cost compared to all other types on the market today. Kingston KVR400D2N3/1G 1GB DDR2-400 PC2-3200 CL3 Memory can be bought in pairs and is easily found at many online retailers for less than $40 per stick.
Low Cost Socket 775 Motherboards
Many ASUS motherboards now feature an integrated video card so you can pick one of these up and skip the purchase of a new ATI PCIe video card until later. You can find an Intel motherboard that has onboard 3D video but they do not allow overclocking of Socket 775 processors so I recommend avoiding them.
The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD comes with the following motherboards which should all make great choices for your next computer:
ASUS P5G43T-M Pro LGA 775 Intel G43 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Desktop Board DG43NB LGA 775
GIGABYTE GA-EG43M-S2H LGA 775 Intel G43 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
For a slightly higher initial cost, you can also want to consider these NVIDIA GeForce 9300 mGPU series of onboard video motherboards for equally increased 3D gaming power:
ASUS P5N7A-VM LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300/nForce 730i HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
ASUS P5N-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX
In conclusion, the Intel E3300 comes with a generous portion of 1024Kb of L2 Cache and the smaller 45nm die to increase your ability to overclock the processor while at the same time featuring dual cores to handle average gaming tasks. You can find the Intel E3300 on Ebay for less than $50 right now but the auction prices are increasing as vendors sell out. I wanted the Intel E3400 but after two weeks of searching, had to give up finding one for a good price on Ebay.