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Today's Hotness: The Core 2 Duo

Intel's 15 Most Unforgettable x86 CPUs
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In 2006, Intel released a processor that quickly became a best-seller: the Core 2 Duo. Derived from work done on the Pentium M, this processor uses a new Core architecture. Before, Intel had two lines of processors—the Pentium 4 for desktops, Pentium M for mobiles, and both lines for servers. In contrast, Intel now has a single micro-architecture on which all of its product lines draw. The 64-bit Core 2 Duo is represented from the low end to the high end, for desktop computers, portables and servers.

There are many versions of the architecture, resulting in configurations with a different number of cores (one to four, yielding everything from Solos to Quads), cache memory (512 KB to 12 MB), and the FSB (between 400 and 1600 MHz). The model shown here is the original Core 2 Duo, but faster versions (at 45 nm) exist.

Intel Core 2 Duo
Code name Conroe
Date released 2006
Architecture 64 bits
Data bus 64 bits
Address bus 64 (actual 36) bits
Maximum memory 64 GB
L1 cache 32 KB + 32 KB
L2 cache 2,048 KB shared
Clock frequency 1.8-3 GHz
FSB 800-1066-1333 MHz
SIMD MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3
SMT/SMP Dual core
Fabrication process 65 nm
Number of transistors 291 million
TDP 65 W
Voltage 1.5 V
Die surface area 143 mm²
Connector LGA 775

The mobile versions (Merom) are basically identical (but not as fast, with a slower FSB) whereas the Extreme Edition versions are faster. The Core 2 Duo also exists in a four-core version, which was, in fact, two Conroes in the same package. The 45 nm version of the Core 2 Duo (Penryn) has a larger cache and generates less heat, but is still fundamentally similar to this model.

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