At first glance, the E6750 looks like the obvious compromise between price and performance in the Core 2 dual-core range. Available for around £120, it boasts a healthy 4MB slab of cache, a solid clockspeed of 2.66GHz and a snappy 1,333MHz bus frequency.

Twice as fast

But is it worth double the price of its entry-level sibling, the E2180? In a word, yes. At stock clockspeeds, it's as much as twice as fast. Frankly, there's performance to spare for most work loads. Even the most demanding hi-def video codecs, such as H.264, pose no threat.

The E6750 brushes such piffling computations nonchalantly aside. What's more, don't let the older 65nm process technology put you off. Thanks to Intel's ongoing development of the Core 2 architecture, this chip has bags of overclocking headroom.