Tom's CPU Architecture Shootout: 16 CPUs, One Core Each, And 3 GHz

Modern Dual-Core CPUs: AMD Regor And Intel Clarkdale

AMD Regor, 45 nm (Athlon II X2 260, Rev. C3)

Regor is the code name for AMD’s current dual-core processor. It's manufactured using the same 45 nm SOI process as the company's faster models with more cores.

The Athlon II X2 260 has 1 MB L2 cache per core, but the product line does not come with any L3 cache. This model runs at 3.2 GHz, but we're able to drop it to 3 GHz with a lower multiplier.

AMD also offers Athlon II X3 and X4 processors, which are technically similar and based on an identical core design. Since these perform exactly the same (and we're disabling everything except one core anyway), there's really no point to bringing the three-core Rana or four-core Propus to our test bed.

Intel Clarkdale, 32 nm (Core i5-661, Core i5-530, Rev. C2)

The Clarkdale-based 32 nm dual-core CPUs are the first Intel chips that include integrated graphics built right onto the processor package. It's actually a multi-chip module, though, with two die per interface. One die includes the graphics core, memory controller, and PCI Express controller. It's manufactured at 45 nm. The other contains both of the processor cores and is etched at 32 nm.

We're turning off Turbo Boost and SpeedStep in order to make sure our Core i5-661 and Core i3-530 run at a constant 3 GHz. It's not possible to achieve this without modifying the base clock rate, though. So, we're running our benchmarks at 2.93 GHz in both cases (133 MHz x22).