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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i5-650 3.2GHz Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 103% 250%
Hitman 3 174% 371%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 174% 371%
Resident Evil 8 126% 288%
FIFA 21 90% 227%
Grand Theft Auto VI 234% 475%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 97% 239%
The Medium 249% 500%
Genshin Impact 54% 165%
Far Cry 6 221% 452%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-650 3.2GHz is massively better than the Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 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 i5-650 3.2GHz was released over a year more recently than the Core 2 Duo, and so the Core i5-650 3.2GHz is likely to have better levels of support, and will be more optimized for running the latest games.

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz and the Core 2 Duo both have 2 cores, and so are quite likely to struggle with the latest games, or at least bottleneck high-end graphics cards when running them. With a decent accompanying GPU, the Core i5-650 3.2GHz and the Core 2 Duo may still be able to run slightly older games fairly effectively.

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz has 2 more threads than the Core 2 Duo. The Core 2 Duo has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i5-650 3.2GHz 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 i5-650 3.2GHz and Core 2 Duo 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 i5-650 3.2GHz has a 0.87 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 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 Duo has a 3584 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i5-650 3.2GHz, and although the Core 2 Duo 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 2 Duo has a 8 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core i5-650 3.2GHz. However, the Core i5-650 3.2GHz was created with a 33 nm smaller manufacturing technology. Overall, by taking both into account, the Core i5-650 3.2GHz is likely the CPU with the lower heat production and power requirements, by quite a wide margin.

The Core i5-650 3.2GHz has an on-board GPU, which means that it will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card. The Core 2 Duo, however, does not, and you will probably have to look for a dedicated card if you wish to use it at all.

For in-depth GPU comparisons with the HD i5 650, click on the following GPU overview comparison icon (visible throughout Game-Debate), and choose a GPU from the list to compare against:

On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameClarkdaleConroe
MoBo SocketLGA 1156/Socket HLGA 775/ Socket T
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date07 Jan 201016 Jul 2007
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores2vs2
CPU Threads4vs2
Clock Speed3.2 GHzvs2.33 GHz
Turbo Frequency3.46 GHzvs-
System Bus -vs800 MHz
Max TDP73 Wvs65 W
Lithography32 nmvs65 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature73°Cvs72°C
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size128 KBvs128 KB
L2 Cache Size512 KBvs4096 KB
L3 Cache Size4 MBvs-
Max Memory Size-vs-
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

GraphicsHD i5 650
Base GPU Frequency733 MHzvs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX10vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

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

Gaming Performance Value

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2vs
Modern Warfare 3vs
Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewCore i5-650 3.2GHz is a performance CPU based on the 45nm, Nehalem architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (4 Logical), initially clocked at 3.2GHz, which may go up to 3.46GHz and 4MB of L3 Cache.
Among its many features, Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost and Virtualization are activated.

The processor integrates very weak Graphics called Intel i5 650, with XX Execution Units, clocked at 733MHz which share the L2 Cache and system RAM with the processor.
Both the processor and integrated graphics have a rated board TDP of 73W.

It offers average performance. This means it will become a bottleneck in some demanding applications.
Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz is a middle-class Processor based on the 65nm Core micro-architecture.

It offers 2 Physical Cores (2 Logical), clocked at 2.33GHz and 4MB of L2 Cache.
Among its many features, Virtualization is activated.

The processor DOES NOT integrated any graphics. and has a rated board TDP of 65W.

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