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"Merom" runs hot, "Yonah" might be the better chip for notebooks

Intel began releasing specifications of the new Merom processor to its motherboard partners today.  For those expecting Merom to increase performance over Yonah while simultaneously decreasing the thermal envelope, think again.

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 lowly 1.66GHz T5500.  In comparison, the 1.66GHz Yonah rings in at 27W. 

Surely with Enhanced Speed Step these numbers get better, we'd think.  In "Battery Mode," all Merom processors clock down to 1GHz and 0.75V -- yet amazingly the TDP is still 20W.  Yonah, which also clocks down to 1GHz in Battery Mode with a 0.95V core has a TDP of 13.1W. 

Those expecting to pop in a Core 2 Duo Merom processor to alleviate an overheating MacBook Pro, look not here.  Merom is a better performing processor than Yonah, but its thermals on paper show its advantages are only in performance and not in thermals at all. 

Intel will counter these poor thermals with more "Low Voltage" and "Ultra Low Voltage" processors.  Just a few weeks ago, Intel announced an Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) Yonah processor running on a TDP of just 9W.  Intel's newest roadmap includes the U7500, an ultra-low voltage version of Merom.  However, given the fact that the normal voltage Yonahs have a lower TDP than the average Merom processor, we'd be hard pressed to think U7500 could possibly run cooler than its Yonah predecessor.

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Not a good sign
By psychobriggsy on 8/17/2006 7:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
If Intel could guarantee that all the Merom processors it could make were in lower TDPs at each power state, then they would have set a lower power state.

The fact that at 1GHz Merom could potentially consume 20W, compared to 13.1W for Yonah and 10W for Turion X2 (@800MHz, I think someone is being rather optimistic with the figures at AMD, I got the figures from ) is not good information for a processor aimed at laptops.

We all know that when it comes to laptop processors, Intel's TDPs are possibly even more pessimistic than AMDs, i.e., they aren't reached very often. However an increase is not a good sign. However the extra processing capability might compensate.

Here's hoping that Intel don't repeat that slow creep towards hot laptop processors again over the next few years.

RE: Not a good sign
By KristopherKubicki on 8/17/2006 8:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind that the 20W in your example is the thermal envelope, not the power consumption. But yes, all of your other points are essentially valid.

RE: Not a good sign
By Hare on 8/18/2006 3:14:27 AM , Rating: 2
People also need to realise that when you compare the two it should not be done mhz to mhz, rather compare the actual performance. The clockspeed is meaningless.

Even if merom at 2Ghz consumes more energy than a 2Ghz Yonah it still has a lot better performance per Watt since it is capable of doing a lot more work in that time -> work done, drops more quickly to low power mode. The max. figures don't tell the whole story.

RE: Not a good sign
By Hare on 8/18/2006 4:53:03 AM , Rating: 2
Example: 2.16Ghz Yonah vs 2.0Ghz Merom. Merom was +23.3% faster in 3dmark03 cpu-test. An app(s) that stresses both cores makes the difference even bigger...

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