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Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64

Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64
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Two weeks from now, Intel will release its all-new Core 2 Duo processor. The technical details were made available to the public in March 2006, and first benchmarks made clear that Intel is not joking: Core 2 Duo shall become the undisputed leader in performance and performance per Watt. It's time to separate facts from rumours.

Intel does not talk about changes to the processor architecture; it talks about a complete redesign. The engineers took elements from the current Pentium D NetBurst architecture and added ingredients that made the Pentium M and Core Duo mobile processors successful, and voilá: The Core2 micro-architecture was born. Key design goals were an ideal relation between processing performance and power consumption, which was a direct result of AMD's processors delivering better performance per Watt of energy, and the public complaining about unreasonably high power consumption and cooling requirements for Intel platforms.

For industry experts, Core 2 Duo beating the Athlon 64 processor family is no surprise: On the one hand, Core 2 Duo is a brand-new state-of-the-art processor, whereas the Athlon 64 X2 has been around for a while. On the other hand, Intel must come out with a superior product to finally beat AMD after two years of Athlon 64 headwinds.

So fasten your seatbelts, because Core 2 Duo is the new high-flyer. We will go through all technical aspects that have not been discussed on the web. So don't expect lots of architecture details (these can be found in our Spring IDF article), but hands-on testing and analysis. We will also have a look at the impact Core 2 Duo might have on AMD.

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