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Core 2 Duo: From V8 To Twin-Turbo V6

Centrino 2 Exposed: A Name Deserved?
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Cutting Fat, Adding Horsepower

The 65 nm Core 2 Duo (Merom) family that originally drove Intel’s Santa Rosa platform did well enough for a 65 nm part, offering 4 MB of L2 cache and 800 MHz front side bus speeds. However, those 34 W parts were akin to power-hungry V8 engines, serving up plenty of performance at a cost to battery mileage.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Intel is still alive and well at the 35 W TDP level with Centrino 2. The shift to 45 nm has done wonders for the chip’s energy efficiency, though. So, while all five Montevina-certified Core 2 Duo processors employ a brand new 1066 MHz front side bus setting, three of the five models feature 25 W TDPs. At 25 W, the Core 2 Duo comes across as more of a turbo V6, sipping fuel as it serves up performance.

intel centrino 2

From an architectural perspective, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about the new Core 2 Duos. They’re divided up into two families: T9xxx and Pxxxx, with the former featuring a 35 W ceiling and the latter ducking in at 25 W. Both the 2.8 GHz T9600 and 2.53 GHz T9400 boast 6 MB L2 cache repositories, while the P8600 (2.4 GHz) and P8400 (2.26 GHz) feature 3 MB caches. The one outlier is Intel’s Core 2 Duo P9500, running at 2.53 GHz, armed with 6 MB, and inside the 25 W barrier. That’s the chip we’re more excited about.

Mobile gamers have a sixth option, though it’ll be pricey at $851 in 1000-unit trays: Intel’s Core 2 Extreme Mobile X9100. The Extreme chip runs at 3.06 GHz, has a 1066 MHz bus, and includes 6 MB cache. Naturally, its 44 W TDP will probably require extra concessions for cooling — even more so when you consider the chip isn’t constrained by a locked clock multiplier. Notebook overclocking? Sure, why not? No doubt enthusiast-oriented notebook vendors will build well-ventilated platforms around the X9100, assuming it inherits the scalability already associated with Intel’s 45 nm Penryn design.

A handful of other enhancements offered by the desktop Penryn processors have found their way into these mobile Core 2 Duo chips as well. For instance, Intel claims the High-K 45 nm process is instrumental in minimizing leakage, thereby improving battery life. A deep power down (C6) state, which turns off caches, the core clock, and PLL, yields a significant reduction in idle power. And Dynamic Acceleration Technology boosts the operating frequency of one processor core in single-threaded applications when the other core is idling. The result is an optimized operating mode that does not negatively impact the chip’s thermals, but does help it push through demanding applications faster.

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  • 0 Hide
    santos79 , July 15, 2008 9:21 AM
    The Montevina chipset also introduces support for 8GB of RAM. IMO that's a major advantage of the Centrino2 and should have been mentioned in the article.

    While 4GB more than enough for now, it might not be enough in 2-3 years.
  • 0 Hide
    silversound , July 15, 2008 4:49 PM
    Thats nothing close to a revolutionary upgrade like the core2 from pentium4, only FSB and some memory upgrade on the motherboard; PC6400 is so last year for desktop. Certainly do not deserve the name change, i think just a marketing attempt try to stimulate the sales.
  • 0 Hide
    snarfies1 , July 15, 2008 4:49 PM
    Lot of exposing going on today, lol...
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 15, 2008 4:57 PM
    silversoundThats nothing close to a revolutionary upgrade like the core2 from pentium4, only FSB and some memory upgrade on the motherboard; PC6400 is so last year for desktop. Certainly do not deserve the name change, i think just a marketing attempt try to stimulate the sales.


    Yeah, fairly underwhelming overall--at least until we see hardware from Intel.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmessma , July 15, 2008 5:10 PM
    I would like to point out that a Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 15, 2008 5:20 PM
    mrmessmaI would like to point out that a Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.


    I'd argue that it depends on how you're driving the car ;-) I have a much easier time burning through a tank in my V8 than I ever did the bi-turbo V6.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmessma , July 15, 2008 6:13 PM
    Ok, yes many V8 suck a lot of gas often being paired to heavier vehicles. But I would still wager a quality V8 vs a quality twin turbo V6 have very similar appetites. A very nitpicky thing to say, I will admit.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 15, 2008 6:18 PM
    mrmessmaOk, yes many V8 suck a lot of gas often being paired to heavier vehicles. But I would still wager a quality V8 vs a quality twin turbo V6 have very similar appetites. A very nitpicky thing to say, I will admit.


    No worries ;)  More than anything I was trying to make a brute force vs. finesse analogy--probably could have picked a better subject, but I'm a car guy.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , July 15, 2008 8:44 PM
    "The Lost World (what a horrible sequel that was)."

    I'm sorry, is this a blog?

    If you're going to put your opinion about all sorts of silly things in articles, then please post the article as a BLOG and not some type of news story. I think we (the readers) have been over this.
  • 1 Hide
    cangelini , July 15, 2008 8:49 PM
    JonnyDough"The Lost World (what a horrible sequel that was)."I'm sorry, is this a blog?If you're going to put your opinion about all sorts of silly things in articles, then please post the article as a BLOG and not some type of news story. I think we (the readers) have been over this.


    Thanks for the feedback!
  • 0 Hide
    Luscious , July 16, 2008 6:35 AM
    Intel also promised a mobile quad-core in H2 of this year. I'm hoping that with some newer gpu offerings (read beefy) there will be some high power gaming laptops to choose from this holiday season...
  • 0 Hide
    celticbattlepants , July 16, 2008 6:39 AM
    "...Apple is able to finesse that hardware into a package less than an inch thick..."

    isnt finesse a noun?
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 16, 2008 6:53 AM
    Celticbattlepants"...Apple is able to finesse that hardware into a package less than an inch thick..."isnt finesse a noun?


    It can also be used as a verb ;-)
  • 0 Hide
    orangesodazz , July 16, 2008 10:03 AM
    So, does this mean that the Compal JHL90 whitebook is strictly Montevina and not Centrino 2?

    Also, I was wondering if this new centrino 2 platform will support the next batch of cpus beyond the penryn mobile series or will an update be needed like Santa Rosa had.

    One last question, :) . Is there any real performance difference between say a t9300 800Mhz FSB and an update t9400 1066Mhz FSB, and maybe even a P9500 1066Mhz FSB?

    I know these are pretty technical questions and would appreciate any and all responses. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 16, 2008 10:10 AM
    orangesodazzSo, does this mean that the Compal JHL90 whitebook is strictly Montevina and not Centrino 2?Also, I was wondering if this new centrino 2 platform will support the next batch of cpus beyond the penryn mobile series or will an update be needed like Santa Rosa had. One last question, . Is there any real performance difference between say a t9300 800Mhz FSB and an update t9400 1066Mhz FSB, and maybe even a P9500 1066Mhz FSB?I know these are pretty technical questions and would appreciate any and all responses.


    Orange,

    You'd need to built the Compal whitebook up using the full complement of Centrino 2 components--it's a Montevina notebook, though.

    Re: CPUs: If you're talking about the upcoming Nehalem-based processors, then no, this platform will not be able to support them.

    Hopefully we'll know soon enough about the advantages of the faster front side bus. Intel didn't have any hardware ready for the launch, so we still don't know.

    Thanks!
  • 0 Hide
    orangesodazz , July 16, 2008 1:54 PM
    Thanks for the info cangelini, I guess I need to choose between the JHL90 and the older FL92 now. Decisions, decisions.

  • 0 Hide
    nurgletheunclean , July 16, 2008 3:32 PM
    mrmessmaI would like to point out that a Z06 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette_Z06 gets better mileage (city and highway) than a GT-R, V8 vs TT V6, while both having very comparable power and lap times depending on the track style. Just putting it out there, because I know quite a few were thinking it. Haha.


    There are major differences between the Z06 and GTR. for one the Z06 is ~750lbs lighter. The Z06 is also 2wd unlike the GTR's 4wd. Inherently a turbo driven engine will be more fuel efficient if driven at lower throttles since the vehicle will operate as a naturally aspirated smaller engine with less reciprocating inertia, friction, etc. Trim 750lbs and use a rwd only on the GTR and the MPG would most likely tilt toward the GTR.

    For example a Caparo T1 with 550hp will run circles around a z06 (and just about everything else)and get 33MPG. Is that because it's 1000lbs lighter than the Z06, you decide.

    The analogy as to cpu(s) and chipsets is fair. Since a smaller process cpu or chipset is like a smaller v6 engine. While the increased clock rates yield greater performance, such as boost from a turbo. Turbo has been a cliche term used for computer components for decades so this statement just continues the trend.
  • 0 Hide
    kalpesh , July 16, 2008 3:41 PM
    GMail Is Still Beta
  • 0 Hide
    graphicsrus , July 18, 2008 5:40 PM
    I like Intel, but to give them a "pass" on graphics and video is a little incredible without a real review. To give them a pass on it when they are at the center of the Vista graphics class-action lawsuit, have a well known track record of low performance on compatibility and games, and there are reported issues on C2 HD video (AnandTech) amazes me.
    Intel & Vista:
    Intel and Sims2:
    Intel and HD video:

    Let's please get a system review!
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , July 18, 2008 7:45 PM
    graphicsrusI like Intel, but to give them a "pass" on graphics and video is a little incredible without a real review. To give them a pass on it when they are at the center of the Vista graphics class-action lawsuit, have a well known track record of low performance on compatibility and games, and there are reported issues on C2 HD video (AnandTech) amazes me.Intel & Vista: Intel and Sims2: Intel and HD video: Let's please get a system review!


    They certainly don't get a pass. Not knowing what the integrated core is capable of, we can't pass judgment one way or another. Absolutely we'll be taking a look at some of the Centrino 2-based platforms once they become available next month.
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