Dell, others roll out Core 2 Duo notebooks

Round Rock (TX) - Several notebook builders are expected to announce the first wave of Core 2 Duo systems today. This includes Dell, which has deployed the new processor, previously code-named "Merom", across its product family of XPS, Inspiron and Latitude notebooks as well as Precision mobile workstations. The company promises that it will begin shipping the new notebooks within a week.

The announcements arrive about four weeks after the official unveiling of Intel's new Core architecture and the Core 2 Duo processor. The mobile T5000 and T7000 versions of the processor complement the preceding desktop series E6000, which is about to replace Intel's first and second generation dual-core processors that rely on the almost six-year-old Netburst architecture.

The Core 2 Duo T5000 (2 MB L2 Cache) and T7000 (4 MB L2 Cache) are expected to be positioned on the very high-end of notebooks for some time and at least until AMD/ATI will be able to catch up with the perfoemance of Intel's (last generation) Core Duo processor. Intel recently informed its partners that it will be producing single-core Pentium M and Celeron M processors with the 90 nm Dothan core until the fourth quarter of 2007. Core Solo and Duo CPUs will be available at least throughout 2008 - and beyond an already announced refresh of the Merom processor sometime in 2008.

Core 2 Duo T7600 (left) and Core Duo T2600

Dell said that customers can order Core 2 Duo T-series processors as part of the XPS 2010, the XPS M1710, the XPS M1210, the Inspiron E1705, the Precision M90 and the Precision M65 starting today. A spokesperson told TG Daily that the models will be shipping beginning in the next or the following week, indicating that there is ample supply of the new processors. The "cheapest" Dell Core 2 Duo notebook will be the Inspiron E1705, which is currently priced from $939 with a Core Duo T2250 (1.73 GHz) processor. According to a spokesperson, Dell is simply replacing the Core Duo with a Core 2 Duo without price increase in "some cases". On the high-end, the system builder offers the mobile desktop system XPS 2010 thjat starts at $3500.

Dell said that customers will be able to configure the Inspiron E1505 and E1405 with Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors later this week, and the Latitude D820, D620 and D520 beginning next week. Most other system builders that are part of Intel's tier 1 partner group are also announcing Core 2 Duo notebooks, including Toshiba, which said that it will be shipping a Core 2 Duo version of its G35 HD-DVD multimedia notebook.

All new Core 2 Duo notebooks are based on the current Intel 945 Express chipset family and the Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network chip - which are typically referred to as Napa platform and that have been used with the preceding Core Duo as well. A new chipset, code-named Santa Rosa, is expected to be launched in Q2 of 2007 and will bring new features such as Intel's "Robson" flash cache.

Dell's XPS M1710 notebooks

Buyers of notebooks with a Merom processor do not only get bragging rights. First benchmarks, which we published at the end of last month, showed that Merom outruns its predecessor Core Duo in terms of pure performance while consuming not more power. A 2.33 GHz T7600 CPU posted almost 20% improvement in performance over a 2.16 GHz T2600.

Intel did not release details on the availability of the Core 2 Duo processor. However, notebook manufacturers apparently have a choice between five available models - the T7600, T7400, T7200, T5600 and T5500, which carry tray prices of $637, $423, $294, $241 and $209, respectively.

Related article:
Merom outruns Yonah: First Core 2 Duo T7600 performance and battery benchmarks

slide shows:
Core 2 Duo T7600 in Tom's Hardware's test lab - Images and benchmark results
Core 2 Duo in detail: Past, present and future

Complete Core 2 Duo launch coverage:
Intel is back: Core 2 Duo launches
Core 2 Duo Logo Intel aims to ship 1 million Core 2 Duo processor within seven weeks
TG Daily interviews Intel: "Core is changing the game"
Official: Intel releases Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme
Up to $16,000: Core 2 Duo computers flood the Net
The long road to Conroe
Tom's Hardware: Core 2 Duo smokes AMD's Athlon 64 X2
Intel to launch Merom, Conroe on Thursday
Technology Background: Will Intel's Core Architecture Close the Technology Gap? (Tom's Hardware)