Real World Centrino Duo Performance

We’ve already run the full gamut of performance benchmarks on Intel’s Core Duo processor, however those performance tests compared Intel’s latest mobile processor against some of the strongest desktop competitors.  What our performance tests here will show is how well the Core Duo competes in the mobile space, or more specifically, how it stacks up to the Pentium M in a notebook. 

To assist with our little performance experiment we turned to ASUS, who just happens to know a thing or two about notebooks.  You see, ASUS not only has an extensive line of their own notebooks that they manufacture under the ASUS brand, but they also happen to make notebooks for companies like Apple and Dell.  So when we asked for two identical notebooks one based on the latest Napa platform and the other based on the previous generation Sonoma platform, ASUS was well equipped to respond.

What they provided us with was two notebooks from their W5 line, which is a line of extremely portable sub-3 pound 12.1” widescreen notebooks.  The two models that ASUS provided were the W5F and the W5A.

The ASUS W5F and W5A - can you tell the difference?

The beauty of the W5F and W5A is that they are virtually identical, with the only real difference being that the former is based on the Napa platform while the latter is a Sonoma notebook.  ASUS even went one step further and shipped us notebooks with processors clocked identically - the W5F featured a Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) while the W5A featured a Pentium M 750 (1.83GHz).

What we wanted was an apples to apples comparison of Napa vs. Sonoma, and ASUS gave us the exact tools to do just that. 

So without further ado, we bring you a continuation of our performance investigation of Intel’s Core Duo microprocessor - this time, in a notebook.

The Test

Both the ASUS W5F and W5A were configured identically, with 512MB of DDR2-533 memory, 80GB hard drives and both relied on their Intel integrated graphics. The only difference was that the W5F was based on Intel's Napa platform while the W5A was Sonoma based. Both CPUs operated at 1.86GHz, with the Napa platform using a Core Duo processor and the Sonoma platform using a Pentium M processor.

For all tests, each machine was tested with a clean install of Windows and all drivers installed (the latest available as of the publication date), but none of the bundled applications were installed (with the exception of any battery/power management utilities).

All performance tests were conducted with the Power Management settings set to Always On.

All benchmarks were conducted with the display set to the native resolution of the notebook's LCD panel.

Mobile Mark 2005 battery life tests were conducted with the Power Management settings set to Portable/Laptop, but with the screen set to never turn off and with the hard disk set to power down after 5 minutes. All battery life tests were conducted with the displays set to 60 - 70 nits.

Performance testing was done using Business and Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004, as well as SYSMark 2004.

Battery life testing was done using Mobile Mark 2005.

Intel Core Duo - Model Numbers and Clock Speeds Business Performance


View All Comments

  • OvErHeAtInG - Saturday, January 7, 2006 - link

    You hit the nail on the head. The increased power consumption would not be worth it. And IIRC was pointed out in the article, higher memory freq would provide a really minimal performance increase since the FSB is already lower bandwidth than that. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, January 6, 2006 - link

    Did anyone else notice the strange mention of three compaq laptops on page 13 IIRC of the review?

    Anyway, this looks like a good product from Intel which will keep them ahead in mobile areas for the foreseeable future. AMD may catch up of course, but we will see what they offer later this year. I'm sure that revision F will be good though, and DDR2 will reduce power consumption on AMD notebooks a bit more.
  • Stolichnaya - Friday, January 6, 2006 - link

    Looks like the 'i' is going to crash on it's left side any time... Reply
  • nserra - Friday, January 6, 2006 - link

    You are all dreaming here, thinking that amd can release a processor (platform) as good as this for the notebook area. The only extra is the 64 bit.

    They lack all the others, and primary ones:
    -Good platform from one of their partners.
    -Low power chipset to couple with the processor.
    -Brand recognition....
  • nidomus - Monday, January 9, 2006 - link

    coughfanboycough Reply
  • Brucmack - Friday, January 6, 2006 - link

    I'm normally not a spelling nazi, but this is the second time I've seen this on Anandtech, and it's really annoying...

    On page 5, the word you're looking for is "segue", not "segway".
  • Shark Tek - Thursday, January 5, 2006 - link

    Great package but I don't have money for it :(,1759,1908402,">Dell Inspiron E1705

    Type: Gaming, General Purpose, Media
    Operating System: MS Windows XP Media Center
    Processor Name: Intel Pentium M T2500
    Processor Speed: 2 GHz
    RAM: 1024 MB
    Hard Drive Capacity: 80 GB
    Graphics: nVidia GeForce Go 7800GTX
    Primary Optical Drive: Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
    Wireless: 802.11a/g
    Screen Size: 17 inches
    Screen Size Type: widescreen
    System Weight: 8.2 lbs
  • Calin - Friday, January 6, 2006 - link

    But that isn't a portable laptop, is a towable one :( Reply
  • Shark Tek - Thursday, January 5, 2006 - link

    That power consumption will be equal or better than previous Pentium-M generation. Now lets wait for AMD what they have to offer when they launch the Turion64 X2.

    They wont be sufficient to compete with "Core Duo" the only real advantages over intel are 64 bit support and cheaper cpu prices, nothing else.

    Intel will leap forward a few more years in the mobile market.
  • Viditor - Thursday, January 5, 2006 - link


    They wont be sufficient to compete with "Core Duo" the only real advantages over intel are 64 bit support and cheaper cpu prices, nothing else

    Keep in mind that you're just making an "enthusiastic guess" here...
    AMD has started a new process of strained silicon on their 90nm chips which is specifically targeted at reducing power and increasing effeciency.
    These are released in new steppings rather than new architectures (remember Rev E cut power requirements in half compared to previous generations of 90nm chips).

    Even more important is the platforms...remember that the Turion isn't even 1 year old, and the platform designs are still minimal at best. It would be foolish to discount AMD at this point.

    That said, Intel deserves hearty congratulations on the duo and it's platform! 2006 is going to be an interesting year...!

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