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Intel's cheap E2160 Core 2 Duo goes 3.5 GHz

by on23 July 2007



Review: Cheap overclocking miracle


Supplied by Genelec Tuzla
154 KM - about €80 (without tax - VAT)
179 KM - about €90 (with tax - VAT)


Our brand new Bosnian lab tested the cheapest Intel processor based on Core 2 Duo architecture. This product should be interesting to our readers mostly because of its price/performance ratio, but also for its overclocking potential. At the time we received this processor its slightly weaker E2140 sibling was not available, i.e. they sell great over here, but the difference in price between this one and the one we tested isn’t that significant.

From a technical standpoint they’re not that different either. The tested model brings only 200MHz more compared to the cheapest E2140, while the specs are the same: 1MB L2 cache and 800MHz FSB.

To our surprise, the cheap C2D E2160 gave good performance on stock frequencies, and it was more than receptive when it comes to overclocking.


Core 2 Duo architecture brought about Intels market supremacy, but in the lower sector AMD x2 still seems like a good deal. By launching the new E21xx series the situation turned around, and the cheap AMD X2 processors finally have a worthy adversary.

Intel E2140 is currently priced at around €80, whereas the E2160 which we tested will cost you about €90. AMD is selling their Athlon 64 X2 processors for even less: an X2 3600 costs around €60 and X2 3800 is about €70. Bear in mind that an averagely equipped motherboard for AMD processors is generally cheaper than its Intel counterparts. 


So, as we’ve said earlier, E2160 is in the lower class and unlike its big brothers it has only 1MB of L2 cache, and works at 800MHz FSB. The model we’ve tested runs at 1800MHz, with x9.0 multiplier. Of course, we’re talking about a processor with two cores.



Testing Bed:

Asus P5B P965, soc. LGA775
Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H, soc AM2, nForce 590 SLI

Intel Core2Duo E2160
AMD 3800+ X2

RAM: OCZ 2X 1GB Platinum DDR2 800MHz

Graphics card: Gainward 7800GTX 256MB

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 250GB SataII 7200.10

PSU: Fortron BlueStorm 400W

Cooling: Thermaltake BlueOrbII (AlCu)




Cinbench 9.5

Cinebench is a free benchmarking tool based on 3D software CINEMA 4D, so the test results usually give good overall system results, especially if we’re talking about a processor, multi-processor systems or multi-core processors.


In the table you can see the E2160 at  1800MHz, 2400MHz and 3400MHz, and AMD's dual core 3800+ X2 which was included just as a reference.

Cinebench 9.5



Multiprocessor Speedup

Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 1800MHz




OC Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 2400MHz




OC Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 3400MHz




AMD 3800+ X2 @ 2000MHz




OC AMD 3800+ X2 @ 2400MHz




Even at a lower speed setting the E2160 is on par with AMD 3800+ X2 processor. When running at 2.4GHz, Intel easily wins. Although the results of an over-clocked processor are not relevant, or comparable for that matter due to memory speeds; the memory on the over-clocked E2160 ran at 890MHz whereas AMDs memory was kept at 800, the results on the reference speeds still speak for themselves.

ScienceMark 2.0

ScienceMark 2.0 tests for mathematical algorithm processing performance, and in doing that it shows the processing power of a tested processor.


ScienceMark results show a slight advantage of C2D E2160 over AMD X2 3800+ processor, and you can see that ScienceMark relies on a pure processing power. Of course the over-clocked E2160 running at 3.4 GHz wins by a greater margin.


ScienceMark 2.0

Overall score

Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 1800MHz


OC Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 2400MHz


OC Intel Core 2 Duo E2160 @ 3400MHz


AMD 3800+ X2 @ 2000MHz


OC AMD 3800+ X2 @ 2400MHz




We didn’t pay much heed to gaming because it mostly relies on the graphics card power and the quantity and speed of system memory, and these two processors are quite equal. We still played Fear, Americas Army Operation and Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars.

All the games resulted in a playable number of FPS (30-70). As we already mentioned it is mostly thanks to the graphics card and the memory. Even while gaming these two processors were quite on par and the average frame-rate difference was no more than 1-2 FPS.


As for over-clocking you’ve already seen that the processor easily reached 3.5GHz, and it probably could’ve gone higher. We spoke of this in our preview here.

It’s important to note that we used relatively cheap air-cooling, Thermaltake BlueOrbII made up of copper core and aluminum fins. Believe it or not, it is the PSU that halted further overclocking and it clearly shows the importance of a good PSU in an overclocked system, even when using a low end CPU.

Idle temperature of this processor was an incredible 40°C and it didn’t go over 50°C not even under a workload.



This cheap Core 2 Duo shows excellent results in overclocking. Whether it was just our sample, or the whole E2160 series is highly overclockable, we’re unable to say. However we can say that the whole Core 2 Duo family proved to be a god over-clocking material.

C2D E4300 with 2MB of cache scored well on many sites, and it is no exception here. Stock frequencies score similar results as a slightly cheaper AMD x2 3800, however Intel has much more overclocking potential.


Core 2 Duo E2160 is definitely a good choice if you’re running on a limited budget. This baby with 1MB of cache will take whatever you throw at it. If you’re more gaming oriented we’d recommend you a C2D E4xxx or even E6xxx series processor, but the price of these low end parts is tempting to say the least.

Paired with a mid range graphics card and 2GB of memory this processor will run all games on reasonable resolutions and with acceptable detail levels.

Priced at about €90, Core 2 Duo E2160 definitely looks tasty. If you consider that the tested sample easily performed an almost 100% overclock while air-cooled, we can safely say that it will get you a good bang for your buck, and therefore we recommend it.

Of course it would be a shame not to buy a better motherboard and some other components which would enable you to utilize its great overclocking potential.

We thank Genelec Tuzla for supplying the components necessary for this test.

Last modified on 23 July 2007
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