Conclusion: More Core Duo Platforms Wanted!
Congratulations to AOpen for being the first to provide a Core Duo motherboard for the desktop. We feel sorry that things happened on such a short notice, right before the Intel Developer Forum, which is why we could not run the extensive test and benchmark suite you are used to. We are going to add a fully featured comparison soon.
From a pure performance point of view, there is no way that a current Core Duo T series processor would come close to the Pentium D family. We used the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 to get a rough impression of how far away the current Socket 479 processor is. The differences here include FSB1066 versus FSB667, a clock speed difference of 1.3 GHz, and 2 MB shared cache for the Core Duo, versus 2 MB cache per core on the 955. No processor architecture could ever compensate for these gaps, so the double core Pentium wins today - though it does heat up quite a bit more.
The situation will look different by the middle of the year, though. The Core Duo E6000 - based on the all-new Conroe core - is going to match the Pentium's FSB1066 system bus, add DDR2-800 memory, and bump up speed to 2.66 GHz, in addition to its architectural improvements.
Of course, we should not forget that AOpen never intended to have the i975Xa-YDG motherboard compete with high-end Pentium class solutions. It is, rather, an alternative for users who are looking for a better performance per Watt ratio than the current Intel desktop platforms can provide. From this point of view, the new Core Duo desktop board by AOpen does very well indeed, because it literally cuts system power consumption in half! Imagine such a solution going into smaller form factors, and your digital home solution finally begins to take shape.
Other manufacturers, such as Asus, will be ready with their Core Duo desktop motherboards soon. It will be very interesting to see how Core Duo scales, as it is going to be overclocked by enthusiasts and journalists worldwide. These platforms make more sense than Pentium dual core systems for gaming, as it is the graphics subsystem that dominates your 3D experience.