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More performance, more options: here's "Merom"

Today Intel is expected to officially launch the Core 2 Duo processor for mobile platforms. Based on the Merom core, Core 2 Duo is arguably the industry's most anticipated mobile processor launch of this year.  Judging from performance comparisons of its desktop counterpart, Conroe, Core 2 Duo should deliver some very impressive performance benchmarks in notebooks, which will also be announced this week. While Intel had a launch party for Core 2 Duo earlier last month, today marks the official day when products with Core 2 Duo processors become available. Expect major manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo, Sony and others to release notebooks based on the new platform.

Actual specifications for Merom and Conroe remain nearly identical with the majority of Core 2 Duo processors coming with 4MB of L2 cache and running on a 667MHz front-side bus.   Even low-voltage versions of Core 2 Duo such as the L7400 model will run on a 667MHz front-side bus and come with 4MB of L2 cache. Core frequency, however, is reduced from 2.2GHz in the T7400 model down to 1.6GHz in the L7400 model. All Core 2 Duo processors utilize virtualization technology enabled and are fully prepared to run 64-bit applications.  Like Conroe, the 4MB of L2 cache is shared between the two processor cores.

Intel will debut the Core 2 Duo Mobile processors in a number of flavors.  All prices are for distributors:

Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile Launch
Processor
Clock
FSB
Cache
Price
Intel C2D T7600
2.33GHz
667MHz
4MB
$637
Intel C2D T7400
2.16GHz
667MHz
4MB
$423
Intel C2D T7200
2.0GHz
667MHz
4MB
$294
Intel C2D T5600
1.83GHz
667MHz
2MB
$241
Intel C2D T5500
1.66GHz
667MHz
2MB
$209

This is only the first revision of Core 2 Duo, or Merom.  Today's Core 2 Duo notebooks will be based on Intel's highly successful Napa platform, but the company will be phasing this Centrino platform out around Q2 of 2007. At that time, Intel will move in its Santa Rosa platform which uses the GM965 and PM965 Express chipsets and adds the ICH8M and ICH8M Enhanced Southbridges. Santa Rosa will replace Intel's 945GM Express chipset.  This next generation of Merom processors will utilize an 800MHz front-side bus, slightly higher clock speeds and a different socket design.

According to Intel roadmaps, Core 2 Duo processors will make up for more than 55% of its total mobile processor shipments by early 2007. Additionally, Intel expects that dual core processors for the mobile platform will exceed 95% of its production output -- single core processors are definitely on the way out.

Intel roadmaps reveal impressive power consumption numbers for Core 2 Duo processors. Intel claimed on the average, Core 2 Duo processors will have a higher performance-per-watt ratio than existing Core Duo (Yonah) processors. However, DailyTech previously reported that those with a concern for battery life are more than likely better off with notebooks based on Core Duo processors. The top of the line Yonah processor, the T2700, has a TDP of 31W at 2.33GHz clock frequency.  All Core 2 Duo Merom processors have a TDP of 34W, including the 1.66GHz T5500.  By comparison, the 1.66GHz Yonah has a TDP of 27W.

Look forward to seeing Merom versions of the existing Core Duo notebooks available today since Merom is pin-compatible with Yonah processors.  However, don't expect to buy a Merom off the shelf and stick it into your notebook -- the majority of notebooks manufactured today, including the recent MacBooks, actually have the processor soldered onto the motherboard rather than socketed.  Furthermore, when Merom gets its next speed revision at the Santa Rosa launch, any new processors based on the Merom core will have a new socket.


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Soldered CPU's Are the Eexception, Not The Rule
By fbrdphreak on 8/27/2006 8:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, don't expect to buy a Merom off the shelf and stick it into your notebook -- the majority of notebooks manufactured today actually have the processor soldered onto the motherboard rather than a socket.
Most processors are NOT soldered in, they are in a ZIF socket.




RE: Soldered CPU's Are the Eexception, Not The Rule
By vanka on 8/27/2006 8:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Note that he wrote: most current notebook processors. So while I can vouch that most older notebooks have zif sockets because I've serviced plenty of older notebooks; it may very well be that the new Core Solos and Duos have soldered CPUs.


RE: Soldered CPU's Are the Eexception, Not The Rule
By Doormat on 8/27/2006 10:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
The new macs based on the Core Duo are soldered.


By Brainonska511 on 8/27/2006 10:49:53 PM , Rating: 3
You're more likely to see soldered on chips in thin notebooks since removal of the ZIF socket can save a few mm in thickness.


By tfranzese on 8/28/2006 9:41:35 AM , Rating: 2
This has been true all the way back to Powerbook. Citing Apple means nothing as to whether or not it's more common in current notebooks.


By crystal clear on 8/28/2006 12:09:48 AM , Rating: 2
"because I've serviced plenty of older notebooks;"

Then could you clarify the following-
IBM Thinkpads R 40 series-do they have zif sockets &
can I upgrade to the new cpu mentioned in this article.
Thanks.


By plewis00 on 8/28/2006 4:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yes they are ZIF sockets, no you can't upgrade because they are Pentium 4-based and about 2 generations old now.


By FooFighta on 8/28/2006 12:25:08 AM , Rating: 2
I work in an environment where I repair TONS of laptops from most major manufacturers HP/Compaq, IBM branded Lenovo's, Toshiba, and the only machines I have seen where the procs are not held in place with a ZIF socket are back in the 486 days. Those processors are even able to be removed with a special tool. Most processors that are soldered in are ULV procs, not Merom heh. I could see some Cyrix procs and low voltage AMD Geode procs being soldered on, but not on mass produced laptops.


By Hypernova on 8/28/2006 2:29:37 AM , Rating: 2
Why use solder? From a service point of view if either only one of the component is still alright then you're screwed from replacing the whole thing. Is is really worth it just to same 5mm?


By lemonadesoda on 8/28/2006 11:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
...for some designs, yes.


correction
By Viditor on 8/27/2006 8:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
First line: "More performance, more options: here's "Mereom""

Should be here's Merom




RE: correction
By crystal clear on 8/27/2006 10:57:20 PM , Rating: 1

"Expect major manufacturers such as Dell, IBM, Sony and others to release"

IBM does not manufacture laptops-it should read Lenovo.
You must preview before you can post.



RE: correction
By bim27142 on 8/27/06, Rating: 0
RE: correction
By mmp121 on 8/28/2006 1:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
2nd sentence

quote:
Based on the Merom core, Core 2 Duo is the arguably the industry's most anticipated mobile processor launch of this year.


Should be:

Based on the Merom core, Core 2 Duo is arguably the industry's most anticipated mobile processor launch of this year.


RE: correction
By AncientPC on 8/28/2006 10:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Intel is also releasd impressive . . .


Intel also released impressive . . .


RE: correction
By fearandloathing on 8/28/06, Rating: 0
RE: correction
By headbox on 8/28/06, Rating: 0
RE: correction
By fearandloathing on 8/28/2006 3:01:57 AM , Rating: 1
You would hope that, as a serious tech news source for thousands of users, DailyTech would want to present a polished and professional image. Instead what we are getting is wiki-esque editing of/by the people, except DT reaps the benefit.

Look I just started this account because I got so angry at the absurd number of errors allowed through in nearly every post.


RE: correction
By yacoub on 8/28/2006 8:00:53 AM , Rating: 1
It's just extremely unprofessional for a news site to be so haphazardly written.

"will be replacing Intel's 945GM [b]Exprses[/b] chipset "

Come on...


RE: correction
By retrospooty on 8/29/2006 1:17:55 PM , Rating: 3
I say stick to the news, and get over yourself with the proper english, and grammar. Its a news site, not an english 101 test. Who cares, the point of the article gets across just fine. If you want proper grammar, go buy a newspaper.


RE: correction
By stephenbrooks on 8/28/2006 12:12:16 PM , Rating: 1
Or "More-om" if they were trying to make a pun.

The article text confused me as they said all the parts were 800FSB but then went on to list them as 667...


Not worth it
By dcalfine on 8/27/2006 11:02:38 PM , Rating: 1
I read the review on Anandtech last month. The Core2 Duo mobile gives, at most, a 15% speed advantage over the Yonah, but in most cases it's more like 5. Here's the link: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...

Maybe if your cpu isn't soldered this might be an okay upgrade (but not great), but if you'd be getting a new laptop alltogether just to get this new cpu, wait for santa rosa, which will support an 800MHZ bus rather than the 667MHZ, which is clearly holding back Merom




RE: Not worth it
By feelingshorter on 8/28/2006 1:00:39 AM , Rating: 2
They say that if you double a cpu's speed, you only get a 50% performance gain anyways. 5-15% is good enough for me if the MSRP is the same. Santa Rosa wont be here until Q2 2007 and the 800 mhz Core 2 wont be here until Q1 2007. Wont be that long of a wait but what im really excited about is the Low Voltage and Ultra low voltage cpus from intel. That alone should be worth the wait if not for the little increased performance. Im just waiting for the pricing to be released for the Low and Ultra low voltage cpus but from what i see already, its going to be 2000+ for those latops probably.


RE: Not worth it
By smilingcrow on 8/28/2006 4:01:53 AM , Rating: 2
Please update the article to show that initial Merom range will run with a FSB of 667 and not 800, as the table shows.
If you’re expecting to upgrade your Core Duo next year to an 800 FSB CPU then you are out of luck, as they will be for the new socket only, seemingly.


RE: Not worth it
By kelmon on 8/28/2006 4:15:08 AM , Rating: 2
It would be nice to wait another 6-months for a new laptop but I neither trust that Intel will deliver Santa Rosa on-time nor that it will really make that much of a difference to me. Even restricted Merom will thrash my current laptop (1GHz G4 and 133MHz bus) so I'm not going to wait any longer since I needed a new laptop yesterday.


Yonah vs Merom power issue not that simple!
By Hare on 8/28/2006 4:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, DailyTech previously reported that those with a concern for battery life are more than likely better off with notebooks based on Core Duo processors. The top of the line Yonah processor, the T2700, has a TDP of 31W at 2.33GHz clock frequency. All Core 2 Duo Merom processors have a TDP of 34W, including the 1.66GHz T5500. In comparison, the 1.66GHz Yonah has a TDP of 27W.

It really is not that simple. If you are idling the processors are pretty much equal in terms of power consumption. Merom has a higher TDP (with 100% load) but that doesn't tell much. It's obvious that the lower end meroms have a smaller TDP than their higher end siblings dispite the same spec. Meroms also finish each job a lot faster than Yonahs. That means that they drop faster to low power state. On the other hand meroms stay more easily in their lower P-state because even the low p-state gives enough kick for most every day tasks.

Even if the peak wattage (TDP) is higher full power is given for less time.

In terms of performance per watt the merom is in a totally different class.




By DrDisconnect on 8/28/2006 8:34:38 AM , Rating: 2
Santa Rosa may further complicate this. A faster front side will speed up things but will not help power consumption. But then I'm assuming a faster FSB means more power usage as a matter of course.


By smilingcrow on 8/28/2006 11:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
"But then I'm assuming a faster FSB means more power usage as a matter of course."

For the chipset, this is a YES, provided all other variables are equal.


64bit Notebook and memory
By hstewarth on 8/28/2006 3:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
It great to have this cpus but there is a signficant problem with it usefullness.

The main purpose to have 64 bit processor is because of larger than 4Gig memory - main for 3d applications and database servers ( which is silly on a notebook - except for demo ).

But I notice with the latest Dell Precision Notebooks - 4Gig of memory option cost more than the notebook itself.

So for 64 bit to usefull onthe notebook, the prices must come down. On the desktop you can get less dense chips and cost is about 1/3 of it on Notebook.

For me I waiting to next platform for Core 2. One advantage this chip has over previous version is single cycle SSE instructions.




RE: 64bit Notebook and memory
By proamerica on 8/28/2006 8:05:36 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, 64 bit is not just for greater than 4GB of memory. There are numerous applications that will benefit greatly from 64bit even with less than 4GB of memory. One of the most important for my line of work is 3D rendering.

But yeah Dell's memory upgrade options are insane. On the M1210 4GB costs $3,000. However you can get that amount of memory online for around $1,200-$1,500. Still a 2GB SODIMM is about %600 more expensive than a 1GB SODIMM. That just sucks ass.


RE: 64bit Notebook and memory
By coldpower27 on 9/2/2006 10:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah ouch talk about gouging, while I do expect some sort of premimu for double density modules 600% just seems skyscraperish.

So the sweet spot for now is just 1GB SO-DIMM's.

Though Merom is a nice upgrade over Yonah though as it brings about all the additional functions of Core based architecture.


what socket?
By xsilver on 8/27/2006 8:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
are these current merom cpu's socket M?
are they compatible with desktop chipsets?

possible arrangments to use these in htpc's?




RE: what socket?
By ADDAvenger on 8/28/2006 2:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
Intel's mobile procs all use socket 479, desktops use 775. However,there are some specialty boards made for desktops that run Yonahs, and if they don't support Merom they soon will.


Dell- "whew!"
By headbox on 8/27/2006 8:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad I purchased a Dell E1505 that has a socket CPU and not a soldered CPU. I will definitely be purchasing a Core 2 Duo upgrade!




Santa Rosa
By Josh7289 on 8/27/2006 9:29:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'll be buying a notebook PC next year around this time, maybe a month or two earlier, so I hope Santa Rosa will be out then with the new new Core 2 Duo processors. You say Santa Rosa will have a new Socket? Interesting...




Intel finally launches Merom
By Doormat on 8/27/2006 10:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah! I am awaiting the upgrades from Apple for their product line based on yonah chips (mini, iMac, notebooks).




Dell was thinking ahead
By dgingeri on 8/28/2006 11:34:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, don't expect to buy a Merom off the shelf and stick it into your notebook -- the majority of notebooks manufactured today actually have the processor soldered onto the motherboard rather than a socket.


I have yet to find a laptop with a processor soldered on. The Dells I used to work on all came socketed. (I guess they thought ahead on the high failure rate of their motherboards, or at least had little faith in the manufacturers.) Also, the HP's we're current buying for my company are all socketed, and they're made by Lenovo using the same design as the Thinkpad R40 series.




what? correction maybe
By Comdrpopnfresh on 8/28/2006 12:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
seems like in anything over 15", the processor is a drop-in replacement with a bios update. I know most dells are that way, and from tests it seems that asus laptops are much the same. I laugh at my spending even minutes debating going out and buying one of these to replace the core1 in my new dell. The performance gain is not real-life, only benchmark software (although for desktop replacements, encoding and high-need processes will benefit.)really shows it. And how does intel expect a 34w processor to have a longer battery life than 31? Even if it does manage this somehow, anyone who will reap from the performance gains listed above won't care about battery life. So its quite a problem. Also, there is no physical improvement in current laptops either. Either in drop-in replacements, or the first revision core2 laptops, the fsb is the same, and the ram is still limited to 667mhz. It'd be better for anyone to wait for the 800mhz varients. The only clear advantage I see now is the 64-bit extensions. But then again, theres quite a problem there, as vista hasn't been released yet, and when it does, will need physical changes of its own- nand-hybrid disks, nand standalone disk, and most likely the bar raised for a min. ram of .5gigs to 1.... I still think unless someone is really having problems, it'd be better to wait until pcie2, 800mhz ram, nand-hybrid disks, vista, and energy-efficient versions to all emerge before leaping to a smaller, if not negligible peformance increase. Please excuse any horrible spelling or grammer- I'm on my laptop I'm perfectly happy with, and am not used to the keyboard yet...




Merom = yay
By proamerica on 8/28/2006 8:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
I bought an M1210 XPS from Dell about a month ago. One of the reasons I got it is because the CPU can be upgraded in it, specifically to the Merom. I was a cheapskate and got the T2300 in it but I plan on jumping to the T7600 whenever that is available.

The T2300 is just a smidge slower than AMD's X2 3800 processor which is what my desktop is based on... I expect to have my hair blown back by the T7600 whenever I can get my greedy little mittens on one.





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