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Intel's Core architecture gets a makeover for notebooks

Intel today announced a new range of Core 2 Duo processors for notebook computers. The Core 2 Duo processors build upon the successful dual-core Core Duo line that was launched earlier this year. Processors range from the 1.66GHz, 2MB T5500 on up through the 2.33GHz, 4MB T7600. All of the newly announced processors run on a 667MHz bus and run on a voltage of between 1.0375 to 1.3V. In keeping with the mobile nature of the chips, Intel includes Dynamic Power Coordination (intelligently managed C-states), Dynamic Bus Parking (puts chipset in low power mode) and Deeper Sleep with Dynamic Cache Sizing (flushes cache data to system memory during periods of inactivity).

To go along with Intel's announcement, Fujitsu has plans to equip its LifeBook N6400 Series with Core 2 Duo processors in the fourth quarter. This laptop is seen more as a desktop replacement as it features a 17" Crystal View display, dual 160GB hard drives in RAID-0 and up to 2GB of RAM.  However, it should probably be noted that the Core 2 Duo desktops have many more announcements concerning retail availability.

For those that would like a taste of how the new processors perform, you can head over to PC Perspective to see their review of an Asus Z96J powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 (2.16GHz) processor. Now remember, the performance increases seen with Core 2 Duo versus Core Duo won't be as dramatic as seen with Core 2 Duo on the desktop. Intel based notebooks have been using the precursor to the Core architecture since January whereas Intel's desktops had been limping along with Pentium-D Netburst processors. Keeping that in mind, the Core 2 Duo mobile processors saw some notable increases in synthetic and real-world benchmarks.  From PC Perspective's analysis:

In our testing, the Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 mobile CPU has some significant improvements over the previous Core Duo processor. The biggest gains are seen in floating point and integer operations where some tests showed improvements of more than double! One of the short-comings of the Core Duo was it's weakness in crunching numbers, but no longer. The Core 2 Duo T7400 has shown itself to be a beast when it comes to chowing down those operations. Memory performance also showed significant gains, but not on the same scale as the CPU's ability to do math operations. Thanks to a 4MB cache and smart memory access, most of our memory tests showed a nice jump.  Other applications had smaller, but noticeable gains including our media tests and gaming. 

For those already using laptops with Core Duo processors, this might not be the best upgrade. Core 2 Duo processors will still be using the same i945 mobile chipsets and the same integrated GMA950 graphics (for laptops without discrete graphics) and the performance gains probably aren't worth going out to purchase a brand new system or upgrade the processor in your existing notebook. That time will come, however, when the Santa Rosa platform comes around in Q1 2007 along with Merom 2. There will be lots to offer in the form of 802.11n, 3G Broadband, WiMAX, Robson, and GMA X3000.

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Horrible PC Perspective review
By uop on 7/28/2006 12:37:57 AM , Rating: 2
I was eagerly awaiting tests that compare the battery life of Core Duo and Core 2 Duo notebooks. The PC Perspective review seemed to be going that way but that review is horrible .
They took a Core Duo notebook and replaced only the CPU without updating the BIOS.
These days, many hardware features are enabled and tuned by BIOS. Their measurements, including battery life, are not good indications of how a properly set-up system would work.
Sometimes you just have to wait for those AnandTech or TechReport reviews.

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