As always, we also test ed the power consumption. Due to the change of our test rig, we replaced the X1950XTX with an HD 3870. We re-tested the power consumption with our old E6700 processor to get a valid comparsion.
If you guessed that the new Intel CPU will consume considerably less power compared to the 65nm CPUs, you are right. Overclocked to 4GHz the E8400 manages to consume only 10W more compared to our overclocked E6700 at 3GHz, and far less compared to an E6700 at 3.60GHz.
If you have been waiting for the new 45nm CPUs, then you made the right choice. This CPU is the best dual-core you can get for your money right now. While the E8500 is considerably more expensive, it doesn't offer any advantage besides a speed increase of 166MHz. This reminds us of some years ago, where you paid much more to get a 33MHz speed increase.
Overclocking works like a charm. If you own a superior mainboard, such as the DFI LANparty P35, you can increase you speed up to 3.60GHz without increasing the VCore by much. Even older boards such as the MSI P35 Platinum did fine. ASUS had some difficulties due to it needing more VCore, but despite that every board is capable of reaching about 4.30GHz.
If you already own a E6xx0 CPU, the decision is more complicated. Casual computer users who only use their system a few hours a week won't see much of a benefit. The larger cache does help in some applications, but the difference is very small. For power-users who game a lot or those that work a lot with music, photo or video programs, this is an opportunity to upgrade to a CPU which can be overclocked much higher, and will lower your electricity bill considerably.
If the computer also contain a power-hungry old graphics card, such as a X1950XT, an HD3870 will reduce the overall power consumption, even though it's a much faster graphics card and uses less power when idling on the desktop.
We can definitely recommend this CPU and it's availabe for about €165. Its little brother is called E8200 and is available for about €15, less, but we can't guarantee it can reach 4.40GHz.