A very common discussion is about the need for a CPU upgrade from time to time. Some people believe a high-end CPU will always be better than an entry-level one, but other people have the opinion that a new generation CPU will be better than an old one. In order to check this, we tested a Core 2 Quad processor, which was a high-end CPU six years ago, and ran the same tests on three modern basic processors: a Core i3-4150, a Pentium N3700, and an Athlon 5150. Check out which is the faster CPU!

It is important to keep in mind that this test has the only objective to satisfy our curiosity, to test a myth, and not to provide a comparison between the tested CPUs, because it not only includes a discontinued processor, but also products from different price ranges, electrical consumptions, and target market, not being direct competitors in any form.

The Core 2 Quad Q8300 was launched in 2008 and used the LGA775 socket, being a popular high-end CPU during the year of 2009, with its four cores and (at the time) innovative 45 nm manufacturing process.

It is important to say that the Core 2 Quad Q8300 was not the most high-end CPU at the time, and can even be considered a mainstream processor, depending on the criteria you use. We believe we can fit it on the high-end segment, considering that, at the time, Intel was offering three desktop CPU families: Celeron (low-end), Core 2 Duo (mainstream), and Core 2 Quad (high-end).

The Core i3-4150 is a basic/mainstream CPU from the fourth generation Core i family, with two cores, that are recognized by the operating system as four thanks to the Hyper-Threading technology. The Pentium N3700 and the Athlon 5150, on the other hand, are low-cost, low-consumption CPUs, both with four cores.

An important detail is that, on the Core 2 Quad Q8300 setup, both the memory controlled and the integrated video are located at the chipset, while on the other three CPUs, those components are integrated in the CPU. Besides that, the Pentium N3700 and the Athlon 5150 are “SoC” (System on a Chip) processors, where the functions of the chipset are also integrated to the CPU.

Figure 1 shows the motherboard used for the Core 2 Quad Q8300, a Gigabyte G41MT-ES2L, based on the Intel G41 chipset, supporting DDR3 memory modules. Thanks to that, we could use the same DDR3 memories on all the tests.

Faster CPU comparisonFigure 1: the motherboard with the Core 2 Quad Q8300 installed

Let’s compare the main specs of the reviewed CPUs in the next page.