Intel unwraps Core 2 Duo
Intel has officially taken the wraps off its Core 2 Duo processor, the dual-core version of its Core micro-architecture-based chip. It promises a 40 percent increase in performance while being 40 percent more energy efficient than its predecessors.
Pricing ranges from $183 for the Core 2 Duo E6300 (a bottom-end part with only 2MB Level 2 cache, 1066MHz FSB and a 1.86GHz clock speed) and rises up to $999 for the Extreme Edition X6800 (which boasts a 2.93GHz clock, the full 4MB Level 2 cache and a 1,066MHz FSB).
The E6700 (2.13GHz, 4MB, 1,066MHz) is priced at $530, the E6600 (2.67GHz, 4MB, 1,066MHz) at $316 and the E6400 (2.4GHz, 4MB, 1,066MHz) at $222.
Note that Pentium D models – based on the old NetBurst architecture – have also been rejigged, shuffling down one price notch. The top of the range 960 (3.6GHz, 2x2MB cache, 800MHz FSB) is down from $530 to $316, the price previous price of the 950, etc. At the end of the chain, the 820 (2.8GHz, 2x1MB, 533MHz) is down from $178 to $113.
As always, all pricing is based on 1,000-unit orders. Pricing will become effective 23 July.
Previously codenamed ‘Conroe’, the processor is designed for desktop use, with the laptop equivalent, ‘Merom’, due for release before the end of the summer.
In addition to the dual-core processing, the ‘Conroe’ Core 2 Duo features ‘Wide Dynamic Execution’ (to deliver more instructions per clock cycle), ‘Smart Memory Access’ (accelerate out-of-order instruction execution), and ‘Advanced Smart Cache’ (where the shared L2 cache is dynamically allocated to each processor core based on workload, to improve efficiency).
This ‘dual-core’ offering is two independent processor cores in one physical package, running at the same frequency and sharing up to 4 MB of L2 cache. There is also support for Intel VT (virtualisation technology), EM64T and the execute disable bit, which allows memory to be marked as non-executable to better provide virus protection.
In terms of the wider platform support, Intel’s chipset of choice is its own 965 Express, which features an updated Memory Controller Hub (MCH) and supports dual-channel DDR2 memory at 800 MHz. This will, it claims, enable ‘new and enhanced technologies in the area of graphics, sound and manageability’.
A more detailed analysis of the Core 2 Duo can be found here.
The ribbon will be cut to officially launch the product on 27 July, but today Intel is lifting the veil on its pricing schedule and Core 2 Duo performance figures.
Note that as well as a technology guide, there are also four exclusive reviews of machines based on the Core 2 Duo in the September PC Pro (issue 143), on general sale 20 July.