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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  • fitten - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Yup... as I posted above... the rumor is that Yonah was designed for 2.5GHz (maybe even 2.6GHz or so) and can easily be overclocked to those speeds but is being launched at the speeds it is for exactly what you say... to fit in a certain power envelope. Reply
  • Xenoterranos - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    We'll, that's definitely a logical argument, but I'd say only marginally relavent to this discussion. If a laptop with X% better power consumption comes out, does it really matter in the end where those X% came from. I can see the validity in saying that maybe some of those optimizations are on the board and thus the CPU shouldn't be given all the credit, but lower consumption is lower consumption. But that's all hypothetical. The reality is that even without optimizations, the Pentium M would have enjoyed lower power consumption just by moving to the 65nm proccess, as would any proccessor. that's where most of that 30% came from. I'd venture to say that the board design provides 1 or 2 % max, and definitely within the margin of error.
  • Xenoterranos - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Um, i got confused there a bit. I'm basically saying that the new "Core Duo" derives the majority of it's efficiency not from any architectual changes (although they do help a lot), but from the move to 65nm. When AMD makes that jump to (and if Intel hasn't already gone to 45nm) then you'll see AMD pull ahead in power consumption on all 65nm parts, if not performance as well. Remember, aside from the on-die controller, this new architecture is very similar to what AMD is doing. Like the author said, if they wanted to copy something, they should at least copy the serial bus! Reply
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    All one know that Dothan is 90nm.But it is very cool. hot == Intel's 90nm? No!
    The CPU's architecture of low power consume is key. We must understand that IC design is very complex, many advanced tech are applied to keep CPU cool, include the CPU's architecture(such as micro-ops fusion).
  • Furen - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Yonah is better? It seems to be like its a pretty even match clock-for-clock but if you consider that X2s max out at 2.4GHz (currently) and Yonah will launch in around 15 days at 2.13GHz (the FX-60 is supposed to launch around the same time, so the X2 max clock may hit 2.6GHz when Yonah arrives) then it is clearly inferior in the performance department. Granted, the power consumption is quite a bit better but I'd hardly say that the CPU is better, just better suited for low-power applications. Reply
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Yonah(2GHz/L2 2M) is better than AthonX2(2GHz/L2 2M) in the many cases.
    Everyone also believe that Yonah is able to reach the very high frequency.
    In the past, We also known that PM can be overclocked better than A64. The PM's best record of Super Pi is much fast than A64/FX.
  • Zebo - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    Yonah Yonah Yonah... Nah it was hype as I suspected... these procesors are vitually identical to AMD's old A-64's.. AMD supposed to get signifigant bumps w. DDR2/3 and PCIe onboard plus I read about some technology AMD and IBM made to increase performance by a whopping 40%!!">

    AMD has nothing to fear other than in power arena when longer pipe Conroe comes and even then that advantage may very well disappear.

  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    The 40% advantage is TRANSISTOR performance. Even then, its 40% advantage when no straining is included at all. AMD has strained silicon in their current process. Which means real advantage is FAR less than 40%. Reply
  • Shintai - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    PCIe onboard is not a speed advantage. It´s more a tactic move towards the the computer on a chip solution.

    AMD is keen on ondie memory controller and in some years PCIe aswell due to the fact they suck at chipsets. Sure nVidia is making some good ones now. But it´s always been Intels extra strong point.

    PCIe would also gives less traces on the motherboard that gives lower cost. But your CPU will break the 1300pin mark atleast and will be unable to scale in any way. Like AMDs backwards setting with DDR. When some new PCIe or more PCIe lanes comes out. You would need a new socket.

    However personally I´m in favour of it. I just think AMDs ondie solutions is the wrong way. On package seems alot better and more flexible. Until we have an even more stagnant development cycle for external parts.
  • stateofbeasley - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    DDR2 advantage? I wouldn't count on it. The latency on DDR2 still sucks compared to DDR. I wouldn't be so quick to scoff - Yonah performs as well as the X2 while consuming only a fraction of the electrical power.

    I don't see why people thought Yonah was going to be some sort of X2 destroyer. Its execution core has far fewer units than K8 and it lacks an on-die memory controler. The fact that it can match an X2 with slimmer cores makes it all the more impressive. The only hype was in your mind.

    The AMD/IBM technology is not in processors that we can benchmark today -- they have yet to bring this process to mass manufacturing.

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