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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i3-6100 3.7GHz Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz
Red Dead Redemption 2 80% 136%
Cyberpunk 2077 53% 101%
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot 36% 79%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 95% 157%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 33% 75%
Doom Eternal 48% 94%
FIFA 20 29% 69%
Grand Theft Auto VI 144% 221%
Need For Speed Heat 52% 100%
Halo: Reach 26% 2%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz is massively better than the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core i3-6100 3.7GHz was released over three years more recently than the Core 2 Quad, and so the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz is likely to have far better levels of support, and will be much more optimized and ultimately superior to the Core 2 Quad when running the latest games.

The Core 2 Quad has 2 more cores than the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz. With 4 cores, the Core 2 Quad is much less likely to struggle with the latest games, or bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them.

Both the Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz and the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz have the same number of threads. The Core 2 Quad has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz uses hyperthreading and has 2 logical threads per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Core i3-6100 3.7GHz and Core 2 Quad are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz has a 1.04 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is probably a good indicator that the Core 2 Quad is superior.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The Core 2 Quad has a 5632 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz, and although the Core 2 Quad does not appear to have an L3 cache, its larger L2 cache means that it wins out in this area.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core i3-6100 3.7GHz has a 48 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core 2 Quad, and was created with a 31 nm smaller manufacturing technology. What this means is the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameSkylake-SYorkfield
MoBo SocketLGA 1151LGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date01 Sep 201510 Aug 2008
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs4
CPU Threads4vs4
Clock Speed3.7 GHzvs2.66 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
Max TDP47 Wvs95 W
Lithography14 nmvs45 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature100°Cvs71°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs6144 KB
L3 Cache Size3 MBvs-
Max Memory Size-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphics
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Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
Revision-vs-
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PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Battlefield 3vs
Need For Speed: Most Wanted 2vs
The Witcher IIvs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore i3-6100 3.7GHz is a Middle-Class Processor based on the 14nm, Skylake MicroArchitecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.7GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, HyperThreading and Virtualization are activated.

The Processor Integrates Powerful Graphics called HD i3-6100, with 24 Execution Units, initially clocked at 350MHz and that go up to 1050MHz, in Turbo Mode which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 47W.

It is a powerful processor whose performance is good. It's thus capable of running most applications smoothly without any problem.
Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz is a high-end Processor based on the 45nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 4 Physical Cores (4 Logical), clocked at 2.66GHz and 6MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrate any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 95W.

It offers average performance. It will therefore become a bottleneck in today's demanding games.

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