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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  • ncage - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I swear this is the best first post ive ever seen. Good Post Alex. Ya competition is very good for the market. I think intel is starting to get back on track where they need to be. It all comes down to clock speed and cost at launch. What improvements will we see with the launch of amd's next chip other than ddr2 which right now i don't really care about and possibly more cores (at least for the opteron). I am not dogging amd because for about 3-4 years ive only used AMD chips but i think amd has to raise the bar even more. Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    DDR2 for AMD would be great at least for a few things:
    moving to single channel DDR2 memory would decrease costs (in mainboards and a bit in processors)
    moving integrated graphics to single or dual channel DDR2 would increase graphic performance and overall system performance in relation to single or dual channel DDR
    As for the high end, I really don't think an increase in memory bandwidth will help - not even for dual core processors. Maybe for a quad core, but quad cores are certainly for servers, and I don't know about registered DDR2 memory to be used in them.

    Hmmm, you could try an Opteron Dual Core with single channel DDR memory, to see how much performance would be lost by going quad core, dual DDR.
  • mlittl3 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I agree with both Alex and ncage. I really disliked Intel all through out the Pentium4/Net-burst days. They were just releasing marchitecture with no improvements whatsoever. I loved AMD for their innovation and performance/watt.

    Now both companies are equal but I don't think we will see the huge fall AMD suffered from when Intel released the Pentium 4 to compete with the Athlon/K7 architecture. The beauty of competition is showing its bright colors right now. If we only had Intel, we would have a very hot/power consuming inefficient Pentium 4 based on net-burst to play Quake 4 at 5fps right now.

    Its time for the fanboys to turnover a new leaf. Go Intel and AMD!!! We love both you guys.

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