Intel's Conroe, Merom get a name: Core 2 Duo

Santa Clara (CA) - Back in January, we reported about Intel's plans to drop the "Pentium" brand. Now it is official: After having renamed its new mobile processor family earlier this year, the next-generation dual-core desktop processor series will also get a new brand and listen to the name "Core 2 Duo".

Both the next-generation desktop processor, formerly code-named "Conroe" as well as the mobile version "Merom" will carry the Core 2 Duo brand. Customers will be able to distinguish the CPUs by their sequence numbers. Intel did not announce those numbers, but sources told TG Daily that the mobile chip will be offered as T5000 (2 MB L2 cache) and T7000 (4 MB L2 cache) series, while the desktop version will be named E4000 (FSB800) and E6000 (FSB1066) series. The letters in the sequence number indicate the thermal design power (TDP) of the processor: "T" is used for a range of 25 to 49 watts and "E" for 50 watts or greater.

The new processor name builds on the Core brand, which was introduced with the current "Core Duo" mobile processor generation in January of this year. According to the company "Core 2" is a sign for a second generation of "Core" technology, which may be a bit confusing, as the current "Core Solo" and "Core Duo" processors are built on technology that has been carried over from previous "Pentium M" processors and the new "Core 2" generation is built on a completely new architecture (which is named "Core" as well.)

Intel did not announce the clock speeds of the new Core Duo processors. Reliable sources, however, informed us that Core 2 Duo T will be available from 1.83 to 2.33 GHz and Core 2 Duo E from 1.6 to 2.66 GHz at launch. The desktop family will also get a high-end "Extreme" version, which is rumored to come with a clock speed of 3.33 GHz and a 1333 MHz front side bus.

While we were told by Intel officials that Conroe and Merom are within their planned timeline, the introduction of the processors may have been put on a slightly accelerated schedule: Earlier roadmaps seen by TG Daily suggested a late Q3 or early Q4 launch date for Conroe and a Q4 launch for Merom. Intel now confirmed that Conroe will be shipping for revenue in July and Merom in August. If Intel is able to keep the pace of its traditional time-to-market tracks, then we should be seeing first Conroe systems in early September and Merom notebooks no later than in October of this year. "Woodcrest" the server version of the Merom core is expected to launch slightly ahead of Conroe and will be named Xeon 5100 series.

So far Intel has not provided Conroe or Merom processors for an independent performance evaluation. But company maintains that it will not only achieve performance per watt leadership when the processors hit the market, but will also offer the fastest CPUs at that time. Benchmark numbers quoted within the company claim that a 2.66 GHz Conroe (Core 2 Duo E6700) will outpace a dual-core, socket 939 Athlon64 FX60 (2.6 GHz) by about 17% in PCWorldbench 5, by 29% in Sysmark 2004 SE, by 30% in PCMark 05 and by 32% in Webmark 2004.

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Intel to launch Woodcrest, Conroe and Merom in Q3