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2Ghz Core Duo vs 2Ghz Core 2 Duo, Comparing these 2 CPUs in a i9400 revised


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Just thought I'd revise this, after I swapped a T7200 for a T7400 from a Toshiba A100.

Now I've tested using Vista Ultimate X64 vs XP pro x86 from last time.

This is of course not an ideal test, but will give you guys an idea of what Vista brings performance wise.

Very interesting CPU score in 3D Mark 2k5 almost double previous score, this may require some more testing.

The fitting of the T7400 was the same as for the T7200, only this time it took only about 1/2 an hour to do it from start to turning it back on. I used IsoPropyl Alcohol this time to clean the CPU and Heatsink surfaces which does a really good job.

Any text in Blue have been updated from the original post made back in December 2006.

I noticed a few reviews on the new Core 2 Duo CPUs but all of them compared them to different speed Core Duo's.

Making the comparison a complete waste in my eyes.

I needed a new laptop as my trusty Gateway became too hard to keep going after 5 years of faithful service.

Seeing the reviews of unlike CPUs, I saw my chance to do a direct comparison.

So here is what I bought:

Dell Inspiron 9400/E1705

2Ghz Core Duo (T2500)

2GB 667Mhz RAM

17" WUXGA screen

100GB 5400RPM HD

Now I choose Dell for these reasons, it has fully working Aero in Vista, drivers/BIOS's are updated regularly.

If I choose Quality over Price I would not have chosen Dell, but price and needing OS's to work so I can do my work at Laptopvideo2go.com took precedence.

But this is another story.

Once the above was decided, I needed a Core 2 Duo to be able to compare to the Core Duo.

This is where Ebay is my best friend, I found a T7200 on here for US$189 the best price since I started to look some months back.

It was a B1 Engineering sample as the B2 steppings are still VERY hard to find and have a much higher price to go with it.

I could have run many Benchmarks that test all sort of things but I choose to use the Futuremark set 3DMark benchmarks as these are the industry standard and can test both 3D and CPU all in 1 test.

I wanted to test the effect of the CPU on 3D performance as well.

It is quite a job to swap over the CPU's so I won't be do doing any more comparisons for a little while.

If your wanting to do this your self, then head on over the Dell Support site and print out the CPU replacement instructions, this will with pictures show you what you need to pull out to get to what you see below.

More advice, leave the little coin battery attached to the MB, it just unclips from the Palm rest, this will mean you keep your settings after the CPU swap is done.

Very important, update to at LEAST BIOS version A02 (I used A04) as these BIOS's have Merom support added, A04 is the better BIOS as it has the correct voltages for the Merom.

Dell only has BIOS A02 at the moment but I can upload the A03 or A04 BIOS's if there is demand.

Keep all the screws in separate little piles with a label of where they went as there are about 24 to remove.

Also many cables to remove and the entire screen, sounds daunting but it is fun to do, as long as you don't mind risking your warranty to do so.

Below is a piccy of the i9400 with the palm rest removed, the CPU heatsink assembly has also been removed.

The T7200 has been fitted on the far left of the piccy.


The Heatsink shipped from Dell comes with a solidified heatsink goo on it, it didn't stick to the CPU very well.

So I removed this carefully as not to scratch the copper surface to trap heat.

Below is the CPU heatsink/pipe assembly with the Chipset heatsink stuck to the end of it as it was an after thought.


Now I've carefully applied a thin layer of AS5 compound to the copper pad


Also the CPU has a think layer as well


Now here is how it looks with the Heatsink/pipe back on


To help with the tests I used I8kfanGUI to set the fans to full speed during the tests.

Also used Rightmark CPU clock utility to enable the hidden features on the Core (2) Duo's and enable it's performance mode to run the CPU at full speed during the tests.

These 2 apps don't work in Vista x64 without disabling certain security features, which is a shame as RMClock is a great wee app :)

System as tested:

Dell Inspiron 9400/E1705

2Ghz Core Duo (T2500) and 2Ghz Core 2 Duo (T7200) and 2.13Ghz Core 2 Duo (T7400)

2GB 667Mhz RAM

17" WUXGA screen

100GB 5400RPM HD - 120GB 5400RPM HD

9Cell battery.

PA-15 150w AC-Adaptor (not standard but makes no difference unless you have a go7900 GTX or M1710)

System BIOS A04 - System BIOS A09

Forceware 95.97 - Forceware 163.44

System was rebooted after each test.

3DMark 2k1

T2500 - 23991 Dual Core

T7200 - 27455 Dual Core


T7400 - 21626 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

T7400 - 22218 go7900GS Overclocked 497/756

The Core 2 Duo gets a very large boost here, I can only assume that the 4MB cache has a lot to do with it.

The test probably fit inside here and need very little outside input to slow it down.

Having gone from a GF2go which don't can't even run the whole benchmark to now see huge frame rates is awsome. (GF2go scores 2500 in this)

3DMark 2k3

T2500 - 14285 Dual Core | 13871 Single Core

T7200 - 15254 Dual Core | 14698 Single Core

+6.8% | +6%

T7400 - 15000 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

T7400 - 18555 go7900GS Overclocked 497/756

CPU score - T2500 - 913 Dual Core | 846 Single Core

CPU score - T7200 - 1164 Dual Core | 1122 Single Core

+27.5% | 32.6%

T7400 - 1400 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

Here we have the first of the Benchmarks with separate CPU scores.

The DX8 based Benchmark doesn't see the same boost as the DX7 Based 3DMark 2k1.

But still impressive all the same, overall a game should see about 6% increase in speed.

Having a dual core CPU is not necessary to run DX8 games as the other Core is not really used at all as the Dual and Single Core scores show above.

The Dual Core still manages a very healthy boost in CPU performance over the Single Core but with very little end result.

3DMark 2k5

T2500 - 6433 Dual Core | 6286 Single Core

T7200 - 6501 Dual Core | 6297 Single Core

+1.1% | +0.2%

T7400 - 6315 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

T7400 - 8112 go7900GS Overclocked 497/756

CPU score - T2500 - 5591 Dual Core | 4027 Single Core

CPU score - T7200 - 6181 Dual Core | 5175 Single Core

+10.6% | +28.5%

T7400 - 10386 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

We move onto DX9a, and the difference between the Core 2 Duo and Core Duo in the 3D benchmark are almost identical.

Once again no need to have a Dual Core as this is Single Core optimised.

But the CPU score is a different story big gains for the Core Duo, the go7900 is not really stressed.

The Core 2 Duo is much more efficient, but of little use as the end results show hardly any real gain.

3DMark 2k6

T2500 3581 Dual Core | 3193 Single Core

3DMark 2k6 - T7200 - 3592 Dual Core | 3212 Single Core

+0.3% | +0.6%

T7400 - 3482 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

T7400 - 4463 go7900GS Overclocked 497/756

CPU score - T2500 - 1589 Dual Core | 835 Single Core

CPU score - T7200 - 1651 Dual Core | 856 Single Core

+3.9% | +2.5%

T7400 - 1809 Dual Core Vista Ultimate x64

DX9c the latest version and all current games are using this to maximise the graphical experience.

You may as well say the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo are identical in this Benchmark.

3DMark 2k6 is optimised for Dual core and uses these features nicely as it pulls away for the first time from the Single Core CPU's.

The go7900 is stressed in this Benchmark for the first time as the actual tests run at around 15FPS.

But are visually stunning to look at.

Also the CPU test gives the Core 2 Duo a modest 3.9% increase in performance.

This I would say would be the overall increase a Core 2 Duo has over the Core Duo of the same speed.

7zip 4.42

T2500 Dual Core - 121MB 295 files --> 36.4MB took 1:46 using 1.3GB of system RAM

T2500 Single Core - 121MB 295 files --> 36.4MB took 2:32 using 1.3GB of system RAM

T7200 Dual Core - 121MB 295 files --> 36.4MB took 1:29 using 1.3GB of System RAM -16%

T7200 Dual Core - 121MB 295 files --> 36.4MB took 1:22 using 1.3GB of System RAM --22.6% using the Dual processor hot fix

1.86Ghz P-M - 121MB 295 files --> 36.4MB took 2:46 using 700MB of system RAM

I thought I'd throw this in, as it's an app I use very often to compress the drivers to what you see on the website.

7zip is Dual Core capable and uses it very well, as it's nearly 2x as fast as a P-M at only a slightly slower 1.86Ghz.

Even over the Core Duo the Core 2 Duo gains a healthy 16%, I would think the 4MB cache is at play here as it was in 3DMark 2k1.

7zip has made some big improvements in it's compression speed as it takes a mere 63sec in v4.52 with the 64bit version.


If you are to buy a new laptop that comes with a Core 2 Duo get it, as it's more efficient CPU and with 4MB cache eats up older games.

If you want to upgrade from a Core Duo based machine then do so probably from any CPU up to a 1.86Ghz one.

The 2Ghz Core Duo will give only a marginal increase in anything modern, being able to run DX7 games @ 600FPS instead of 500FPS is no big deal.

The Core 2 Duo is going to leave the Core Duo behind once SSE4 instructions are implemented in games and apps.

I'm not sure on the benefit of the HLT instruction that the Core 2 Duo has, as current tests seems to make the CPU run warmer (low 50's) as the Windows Idle Process keeps this down to low 40's (degC)

More heat means more power used means less battery life.

Vista brings a small decrease in performance, nothing to really worry about, a price to pay for the extra graphcal features that vsta brings with it.

I couldn't test the T7200 with x64 Vista, but would assume a slight increase in performance from going from 2Ghz to 2.16Ghz.

Below are some all the System BIOS files out so far

BIOS Downloads

Here are all current i9400 System BIOS downloads:











What you see and do here is at your own risk, this is a world of potential high risk and I can take no responisibility for what happens to your laptop should things turn pear shaped.

CPU replacement is recommended for the experienced fearless hardware freak, if you have any doubts Google for more info on all this.

There are many sites with detailed instructions on how to....

But the end result can be very rewarding, and you'll probably make different choices in the future on what you'll buy.

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System as tested:

Dell Inspiron 9400/E1705

2Ghz Core Duo (T2500) and 2Ghz Core 2 Duo (T7200) and 2.13Ghz Core 2 Duo (T7400)

2GB 667Mhz RAM

17" WUXGA screen

100GB 5400RPM HD - 120GB 5400RPM HD

9Cell battery.

PA-15 150w AC-Adaptor (not standard but makes no difference unless you have a go7900 GTX or M1710)

System BIOS A04 - System BIOS A09

Forceware 95.97 - Forceware 163.44

Where'd you get the power supply and does it make that much of a difference on an XPS-M1710? The one I'm using that came with it is a 130w

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It came from a i9200 or a i9100 can't quite remember.

It's a beast of a Power supply, only used for bragging rights.

It is over kill for either a i9400 or M1710 130w is more than enough for any overclocked system.

What I meant by standard was the i9400 comes with a 90w adaptor.

I found the power supply by accident and it was cheap (auction), it's as big as a house and weighs a ton.

I don't take it on the road and use the original 90w adaptor for this :)

Bought it before I got the i9400 and used it on the D410 (which weighs less)

Look for i9100 or i9200 power supplies and you should be able to find one.

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Well, I have an XPS-M170 and an XPS-M1710, 3 power supplies and 3 batteries. I take it getting the bigger power supply won't help me?

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Nope, I only bought it as I needed a bigger powersupply to test the i9400 overclockability and found a 150w model for a good price.

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Added overclocked scores to the above.

go7900 GS @ 497/756Mhz up from 375/506

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  • 10 months later...
Guest RonD

Hello, knew to the forums and have a quick question.

Currently I am running A04 bios but cannot find the changes from A04 to A09? Does anyone have list that they could please post; something that describes changes? I did find something on A08 / A09 but not sure it was for my system.

Also someone who has upgraded to you think I will see any speed improvement running to the the new bios? I only play wow

Any other suggestions that may help improve the speed of my machine?

T7200 @2ghz

7900 GS 256

2 Gig 667

80 Gig Sata

Wirless G

In the bios I disabled everything like modem / internal nic / BT ...stuff I dont use.

Thanks Ron,

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