At the end of November, we finally did what we had been waiting to do for so long - provide the first performance benchmarks of Intel's Yonah processor, the dual core successor to the highly acclaimed Pentium M.  However, our initial performance investigation was not without its flaws.  Given the short amount of time that we had for benchmarking, we were forced to compare to older numbers from previous reviews, which unfortunately lacked updated gaming, encoding and 3D rendering tests.

Despite the shortcomings of the initial article, we did manage to get a good look at the performance that we could expect from Yonah.  Mainly, it was a fairly strong successor to the single core Pentium M and even more impressive was that it offered performance equal to that of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 without an on-die memory controller.  Many AnandTech readers kept our methods in check, however, by quickly pointing out that the Yonah vs. Athlon 64 X2 comparison wasn't exactly fair, as Yonah is equipped with a full 2MB of L2 cache, whereas the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ that we were comparing it against only had 512KB per processor, possibly painting Yonah in a better light. 

So for this follow-up, we've done two important things. For starters, we've updated the benchmark suite considerably, including modern day games and a few professional-level applications hopefully to get a better perspective on Yonah's performance.  We've also included an Athlon 64 X2 running at 2.0GHz, but with each core having a full 1MB L2 cache, making the Yonah vs. X2 comparison as close to even as possible (not mentioning the fact that AMD has twice the advantage in this round, with both a larger L1 cache and an on-die memory controller, but it should make things interesting). 

We won't be revisiting the issue of power consumption, as we already did that at the end of our last article, but needless to say, Yonah is the most efficient dual core processor that we've tested to date.  Granted that it does have the advantage of being on Intel's 65nm process whereas the Athlon 64 X2 is still based on AMD's 90nm process, but given that AMD is around a year away from transitioning to 65nm, it is an advantage that Intel has the right to enjoy.

What about Clock Speeds?
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  • vailr - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Re: Chipset Drivers used in the review:
    nForce4 6.66
    Intel 7.0.0.25
    Check here: http://www.fdrsoft.fr.fm/">http://www.fdrsoft.fr.fm/
    Intel Version 7.2.2.1006
    nForce4 Version 6.70
    Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Being that DVD shrink will not be updated anymore and the creator is now part of Nero, and the Recode program. Why not use Recode? Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Personally I wouldn't touch any of the compressed domain transcoders like DVD Shrink as they sacrifice quality for speed. Something like DVD Rebuilder combined with the excellent CCE SP encoder provide the best possible quality and are just as easy to use as DVD Shrink. It's nowhere near as fast as DVD Shrink, but I'll take better picture quality over saving a few minutes any day. Reply
  • mrred - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Anyone else notice that the game benches seem horribly gpu-bound? How about giving us some lower resolutions in testing?
    Look at FEAR in particular: X2-4200 and X2-3800 getting exactly the same score? HELLO?!?!?!? That's not a cpu-benchmark. Gimme a break.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Frankly I appreciate testing that shows resolutions we actually play at. Now if only we'd see 1920x1200 :)
    Reply
  • blackbrrd - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    The games are benchmarked at 1024x768.

    Personally I haven't played a game below 1024x768 since I got my GF2mx four or five years ago.

    Most games look horrible below 1024x768, except the games ported from consoles ;)

    Reply
  • saratoga - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Yeah and above 1024 you're GPU limited. Its almost like this was a CPU review. Reply
  • tfranzese - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    That's not the point. The point is to relieve the GPU so regardless of what GPUs come out a year or two from now that alieviate this bottleneck we'll have known beforehand how the CPU handles things.

    Further, this is a CPU preview and as such we don't care about system performance or GPU performance; that shouldn't be the focus or included in the article. Instead, every benchmark should serve the articles purpose of comparing the CPUs - GPU bound benchmarks do NOT serve that purpose and should have their resolution lowered to serve that purpose, otherwise they should not be included because what point do they serve except fluff?
    Reply
  • tayhimself - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Yeah this review is horrible, just like the first Yonah review. Reply
  • uop - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I wouldn't call it horrible.
    There are some weak points, but it does give a good idea about how the Core Duo performs.
    Mainly:
    - It's not as good as the A64 when it comes to games
    - FP is much improved but not there yet

    The article does do a good job of reminding us that Yonah is just the dress rehersal for the real deal. Conroe is supposed to be faster, wider, and full of 64-bit goodness. Think about it - with Yonah's die size, it could be the Celeron-M in just 6 months!
    If Yonah can compete with the A64, then unless AMD pull a fast one they're probably heading for the underdog position.
    Reply

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