Intel raises Pentium from the dead

Test PCs and notebooks sporting processors labelled ‘Pentium Dual Core’ have been mysteriously appearing in PC Pro’s Labs this week, despite the fact that they don’t appear on Intel’s roadmap.

Intel raises Pentium from the dead

The new Pentium parts are architecturally unrelated to the old Pentium and Pentium D lines, instead being cut-down versions of the Core 2 Duo desktop part and – on the mobile side – the old Core Duo processor.

Currently, there are just two desktop chips – the Pentium Dual Core E2160 running at 1.8GHz and the E2140 at 1.6GHz. Both have an 800MHz front side bus and are compatible with standard 775 motherboards.

The three mobile variants are the T2060 (1.6GHz), T2080 (1.73GHz) and T2130 (1.86GHz). All have a 533MHz FSB (front side bus) and lack the 64-bit EM64T extensions of the desktop parts.

The main reason for the low cost is down to Intel removing half of the Level 2 cache, so each of the five new chips has just 1MB in total. This has a marked effect on performance, as we found when we tested both the E2160 and the T2060.

A test PC using the E2160 and 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 RAM scored 0.86 overall in our benchmarks, making it slower than a typical Core 2 system by some margin, and slower than our reference Pentium D baseline PC.

A T2060-based system, used by Philips in the LX2000 media centre PC, scored 0.60 overall, with the help of 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory.

You can buy an E2160 chip from www.dabs.com for only £58 inc VAT, while a Core 2 Duo E4300 costs £73 inc VAT.

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