Chip off the old block

Chip off the old block

Leaving the Pentium processor at the starting gate, Intel's much-anticipated Core Duo 2 processor promises a 40 per cent performance boost, while reducing power consumption by a similar amount. Its executives liken its significance to the introduction of its first Pentium processor a decade ago. Today, the latest technology will mean a business boost for components, hard drives, motherboards, graphics cards and other related gear. Calling it a new breed of super chip, some claim Intel can now reclaim the desktop crown from rival, AMD).

Several industry players have also tipped Intel's volume pricing for Core 2 Duo as an aggressive move to propel marketshare.

Intel Australia national sales manager, Andrew McLean, said the highly anticipated processor line already had broad support, with more than 550 customer system designs underway -- the most in the vendor's history.

Smaller, Quieter

The latest chip developments would mean better graphics, less power consumption, as well as the advent of smaller and silent machines, he said.

"System builders will be able to build high-performance PCs in smaller, quieter cases," he said. "Cool and quiet is particularly important in the home environment, and in large business installations."

Intel's previous generation of Pentium Extreme Edition chips drew up to 135W of power. The Core 2 Extreme X6800 draws 75W, according to Intel's thermal design specification, while mainstream Core 2 Duo parts bring that down to 65W.

"It's a major shift in design to the core micro-architecture from the NetBurst one, which underpins the Pentium," McLean said. "It's a complete redesign from the ground up."

Intel took some pointers from its Pentium M mobile CPUs, and SpeedStep technology, in order to flesh out the new architecture.

The goal is smarter processors thyat can monitor what applications are being run and adjust the amount of power to match.

Top features include the addition of wide dynamic execution, smart memory access, advanced smart cache, advanced digital media boost and 64-technology, McLean said.

Another major advantage Core 2 Duo has over its Pentium predecessors is the additional execution unit on each CPU core.

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