Final Words

General application performance can improve a bit by switching to Core 2 Duo, but the biggest performance gains are associated with 3D rendering and media encoding tasks. Considering the nature of the improvements to Intel's Core 2 processor, the areas in which it succeeds are not surprising. If you use your notebook as a professional rendering or encoding workstation with no desktop in sight, then you'll probably consider Core 2 Duo a lot more carefully than most.

One of the items that clearly stands out is that discussing gaming performance on laptops is largely an academic endeavor, as the vast majority of shipping laptops are going to be completely GPU limited. We will hopefully have some results from a high-end gaming laptop in the near future, at which time we can detmine how much of an advantage Core 2 Duo really has over Core Duo. The designs are similar enough that we don't expect a huge difference, and the lower FSB bandwidth will certainly limit performance potential more than on the desktop. However, we would expect a difference somewhere in the range of 5-15% in most games if we can remove the GPU bottleneck as is evidenced by the Oblivion results.

While Core 2 Duo does look nice, as long as you've got a good notebook today you'll probably want to wait until Santa Rosa before upgrading (at the earliest). With Santa Rosa, clock speeds will go up slightly but more importantly we'll get access to a faster FSB. Unfortunately a side-effect of keeping Core 2 Duo fed with a faster FSB is that while performance may go up, battery life may go down. It'll be interesting to see what Intel can pull off with the new platform; one of the funny things about performance and battery life is that if you can complete a task quickly enough thus returning your CPU to an idle state faster, battery life will grow even though instantaneous power consumption may be higher.

For Apple users this means that early adopters of the new MacBook or MacBook Pro won't be too pressured to upgrade again by the end of this year. Of course Apple has this way of making incremental changes irresistible.

Overall, Merom may not be as big of an upgrade to Yonah as Conroe was to NetBurst, but the bottom line is that you get equal or better performance in every test without increasing cost or decreasing battery life. Owners of Core Duo laptops really have no reason to worry about upgrading for now, and waiting for the Santa Rosa platform before your next laptop upgrade seems reasonable. Those looking to purchase a new notebook on the other hand have no reason to avoid Core 2 Duo models, assuming pricing is consistent with what Intel is promising. There will be a delay of at least a few more weeks as we await availability, and testing and validation by laptop manufacturers may delay things a bit more, but within the next month or so you should be able to get a Core 2 laptop.

Battery Life - Reading, DVD Playback & Wireless Web Browsing
POST A COMMENT

46 Comments

View All Comments

  • juanpoh - Friday, August 4, 2006 - link

    Looking at http://www.intel.com/products/processor/pentiumm/i...">Intel Pentium M link, only 915 and 855 chipset is supported. However 945 chipset is listed as supported in http://www.intel.com/products/processor/celeron_m/...">Intel Celeron M link. Reply
  • jaybuffet - Friday, August 4, 2006 - link

    I have the nx9420 notebook with the 945pm chipset... i was on hp support yesterday, and they said they would not support upgrading the CPU.. does that mean i am SOL because they wont upgrade the BIOS to support it? Reply
  • Pjotr - Friday, August 4, 2006 - link

    Please correct the percentage numbers on http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...

    "17.5% increase in performance" -> "17.5 % less time used" OR "21.3 % increaase in performance"

    Same mistake for all other time based benchmarks.
    Reply
  • shecknoscopy - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    Given the nearly identical architectures of the desktop Conroes and the new Merom chips - how well do all of you think the two would stack up in a direct side-by-side comparison? This is open to blatant conjecture, of course, as the necessary hardware to <b>really</b> make a single-variable experiment isn't out there. But for those of us considering mobile-on-desktop options, how much of a performance cut would we see jumping from a Conroe to a Merom? Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Saturday, August 5, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Given the nearly identical architectures of the desktop Conroes and the new Merom chips - how well do all of you think the two would stack up in a direct side-by-side comparison? This is open to blatant conjecture, of course, as the necessary hardware to <b>really</b> make a single-variable experiment isn't out there. But for those of us considering mobile-on-desktop options, how much of a performance cut would we see jumping from a Conroe to a Merom?


    Intel mentioned something about having different prefetchers that match the market, meaning Woodcrest's Prefetchers are fit for workstation/server, Conroe for desktop, Merom for mobile applications(performance/battery life).

    If you look at Core Extreme X6800 vs. Core 2 Duo E6700 benchmarks, you can see that in some reviews the differences are greater than the 267MHz clock difference(10% clock difference). Maybe Core Extreme has superior prefetchers to the Core 2 Duos, giving advantage in select few applications.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    This was the exact question I just signed on to ask....so I await and answer as well. Reply
  • shecknoscopy - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    Woohoo! Great minds think alike, eh? Also, so do ours! Reply
  • JackPack - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    Which stepping did you use in this test? B1? Reply
  • EagleEye - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    I think the asus barebones configuration is mislabeled in this article. The s96j has the WXGA 1280x 800 screen while the z96j has the WSXGA 1680x 1050 screen. They either had an s96j or the native resolution is wrong as they stated it. Reply
  • Kalessian - Thursday, August 3, 2006 - link

    I noticed that, too. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now