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


    Its execution core has far fewer units than K8 and it lacks an on-die memory controler.

    Which should make you think about the supposed "magic" of the on-die memory controller that everyone constantly raves about as being *the* reason why the Athlon64 is as good as it is (hint: there are other reasons, the IMC is just one piece of why).
  • Marmion - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I don't get it why everyone expects a mobile chip to out-perform a desktop chip.
    Yonah/Core Duo is specifically a low power optimised dual core processor for laptops. Its fine to use it as an indication of the future conroe/merom, but bear in mind that these will see faster clocks, further optimisations for their specific use (desktop/mobile respectively).
    Next month, Intel will have no competition for dual core laptops untill the Turion X2 comes out. Will you think that the mobile version of a desktop processor will be able to perform the same? No, because of optimisations for the all-important mobility factor (battery-life and weight).
    If you want an uber-powerful desktop replacement X2 processor-powered laptop, you can do that now. But expect no battery life and an aching back or a soar arm from carrying around a 4kg+ brick. So, Intel is now offering a laptop processor, capable of performing similarly to a desktop processor, but with low power consumption, long battery life and low weight.
    What am I trying to say? A Turion X2 may be slower than current Athlon X2s and yes I know 65nm vs 90nm. It probably won't be faster anyway, so Intel have a fast, efficient and cheap processor - hey you expect Turion X2 to be as cheap as the single core version?

    Apples to oranges? Get over it! The Core Duo uses DDR2, AMD X2 DDR. Intel FSB, AMD Mem controller. You will never get an apples to apples comparison - its business, competition, differentiated products, call it what you like, you buy AMD, you use different RAM, different Mobos, different drivers to Intel, end of story, so its a comparison of platforms, not CPU.

    *end rant*
  • fitten - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link


    I don't get it why everyone expects a mobile chip to out-perform a desktop chip.

    They don't... and that's the point and why many are impressed with Yonah... that it *does* perform favorably to a desktop platform.
  • Leper Messiah - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    how do you know its going to be cheap? As far as I have seen, there are no prices released for these processors yet. And do you wanna know why we're somewhat dissapointed? Intel (and its fanbois) have been talking about how this new arc. is supposed to be the next big thing. In its current form, its not really. Reply
  • stateofbeasley - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link">

    Price points are the same as the current platform.

    Yonah is not NGMA. Yonah is a P6 family processor.

    People must read the news before they post!!!!
  • coldpower27 - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    This isn't really new architecture, the next big thing is supposed to be Intel's NGMA, where alot of changes are going to be made. Reply
  • KayKay - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    I am an AMD fanboy

    but the results (power consumption esp.) are very impressive

    guess intel wants to keep things competitive

    hope amd ups the ante in response
  • eetnoyer - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    With AMD announcing the use of SiGe in processors coming up very soon, it looks like they could still get a decent drop in power consumption at 90nm. I'd guess that's what they're waiting for to release the Turion x2. I doubt that it will be quite enough to match the power consumption of Yonah, but should mostly suffice until the 65nm shrink. It will also apparently serve to greatly reduce the area required for L2 cache by shrinking the cells. Once that happens I imagine that AMD will hold a small power/performance lead over Merom/Conroe/Woodcrest since adding 64 bit will tend to up their power consumption somewhat. At that point, AMD will be using SOI and SiGe, while Intel will only be using SiGe.

    As for continuing the ramp of frequencies, I don't think that it's going to play a hugely significant role going forward. That's why everyone is going multi-core these days. It looks like rough performance parity is here to stay between the two. What I think AMD is aiming at is a duopoly in the CPU market. That is the point of the lawsuit, and the greatly expanding capacity that AMD is targeting (Fab36, Chartered, Fab38, etc...). What Intel really needs to worry about is AMD's ability to increase their brand awareness and supply large vendors reliably. Once that happens, Intel will need to compete on price. While AMD is very comfortable living on $100 ASP, that would be catastrophic to Intel's bottom line. I think over the next few years (barring any catastrophic screw-ups by AMD) we are going to see alot of cost-cutting at Intel.

    Sorry for the off-topic ramblings, but I tend to look at things from an investors' POV.
  • Leper Messiah - Monday, December 19, 2005 - link

    So I guess the biggest question for these (at least to me, since I don't have a need for an uber-lappy) is price and a converter for a mobo, and I guess OC-abilty. If they can match clock speeds of the x2s (2.6GHz+) and come out to be cheaper, then I might consider buying one of these, but I don't see AMD's desktop market being threatened, considering Intel's last gasps with netburst (let it die already!).

    If AMD can milk another 400MHz or so out of its K8 arctechture in its current form, they'll stay competitive with mermom it seems to me. Yonah certainly isn't the AMD killer the intel fanboi's have been heralding it as though.
  • fitten - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    I've seen a number of "reports" of these Yonahs (Core Duo) hitting 2.5GHz quite easily without even raising the voltage. It's "as if" it were designed to run in the 2.5-2.6GHz range but not released that way... yet. Reply

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