In the second, they overclocked to 2.6GHz for the benchmarks because the Aopen motherboard was limited to a 800MHz FSB. They were later informed after benchmarking that in order to reach 1066MHz FSB they needed to physically remove 2 jumpers which they did and verified the 2.9GHz stable OC of HKPEC.
The results seem very good in general with the 2.16GHz Core Duo matching or beating the 2.2GHz X2 4400+ in most cases. You can decide whether this lends credibility to the Conroe benchmarks or not.
On a side note, The Inquirer is reporting tighter approximations of launch timings for the Core architecture. Supposedly, Woodcrest will launch first in July, Conroe in August, and Merom in September. The reasoning they report seems sound enough, so we'll have to hope for execution.
I agree with your assessment that Core will probably launch sooner. However, I think that The Inquirer is still probably right since they are probably reporting ship dates which of course are different than launch dates. The AM2 launch seems to have moved up to May 23, because AMD seems to think that Intel may paper launch Core at around that time, which may be the Woodcrest launch you are referring to. Intel seems to have a tendency to paper launch anyways since I don't believe the 965D is widely available yet.
X-bit Labs reports that Woodcrest will ramp to 70% of server shipments by Q4 2007, which seems very aggressive.
The die size of a Woodcrest is no different than a Conroe, so the yield, number of good die, etc. are roughly the same.
I hate to nitpick, but I thought I'd mention that the yields of Woodcrest would be lower than Conroe. First, Conroe chips only use a 1066MHz FSB while most Woodcrest's will use a 1333MHz FSB which will have a noticeable effect on yields. I'd expect the tougher validation Woodcrest goes through will also result in more rejects. There is also suppose to be a 3GHz Woodcrest which won't be available initially to Conroe (although this is a likely candidate for the EE, but 3.33GHz has been rumoured) so Woodcrest will need an additional bin.
The advantages of the Woodcrest rejects though are that they can be used as Conroe parts. I'd be interested to know if there are actually major differences between Woodcrest and Conroe besides the FSB and DP support. I remember reading somewhere that the prefetch logic in the caches and FSB will be different for Woodcrest, Conroe, and Merom to optimize for the types of applications they are likely to run. Merom will obviously be binned for power rather than performance as Woodcrest and Conroe.
Don't apologize, you posted a more informative set of links, with cross-referenced data for a more thorough comparision.
On another note, I do appreciate this comment and your comments in general.