This is the baby of the Intel bunch (unless you count the 'Pentium Dual-Core' range, whose 1Mb cache means it's not as well suited to gaming). This, though, is the very definition of sweet spot.

Available for just under £75 online, that's barely real money in processor terms. Sporting only 2Mb of cache and an FSB of 800Mhz compared to the E6 series' 4Mb and 1,066Hz, on paper it appears hobbled. Not so.

The cache doesn't make a vast difference, and the artificially lowered FSB means you can add a dollop of overclock sauce, with huge results thanks to a generous 9x multiplier.

Ours went to 3GHz on the standard Intel cooler (and dedicated sorts have taken it to 3.5GHz). It doubled framerates in ST.A.L.K.E.R, hitting harder than everything except Intel's quad core chips. It's an easy winner.