Final Words

With updated benchmarks and a more level playing field comparison to the Pentium M and Athlon 64 X2, we're truly able to see the potential of Intel's Core Duo processor.  Our initial analysis still holds true, that for a notebook processor, the Core Duo will be nothing short of amazing for professionals.  Looking at the performance improvements offered everywhere from media encoding to 3D rendering, you're going to be able to do a lot more on your notebook than you originally thought possible (without resorting to a 12-pound desktop replacement).  In the past, power users on the go had to sacrifice mobility for CPU power, but with the Core Duo, that is no longer the case.  You will still most likely have to resort to something larger if you need better GPU performance, but at least your CPU needs will be covered.  The one thing that Intel's Core Duo seems to be able to do very well is to truly bridge the gap between mobile and desktop performance, at least in thin and light packages. 

But what about the bigger picture?  What does our most recent look at the performance of Intel's Core Duo tell us about future Intel desktop performance?  We continue to see that the Core Duo can offer, clock for clock, overall performance identical to that of AMD's Athlon 64 X2 - without the use of an on-die memory controller.  The only remaining exception at this point appears to be 3D games, where the Athlon 64 X2 continues to do quite well, most likely due to its on-die memory controller. 

The problem with the Core Duo is that its clock speeds aren't going to be quite high enough to be competitive, on the very high end, with AMD.  Luckily for Intel, Conroe should be able to offer higher clock speeds without much of a performance penalty, thanks to its 4-issue core.  It is always interesting to note that Intel's marketing focus is moving away from focusing on ILP (Instruction Level Parallelism), yet one of its biggest features of their next-generation microarchitecture is a significant increase in ILP. 

Honestly, as it stands today, if Intel can get clock speeds up, the only area that they will need to improve on is gaming performance to be competitive with AMD.  We wouldn't be too surprised if the comparisons that we have shown today end up being very similar to what we encounter at Conroe's launch: with AMD and Intel performing very similarly at the same clock speeds, but with AMD's on-die memory controller giving it the advantage in gaming. 

Intel's Core Duo launches in January at CES, so if you've been thinking about buying a new laptop, we'd suggest waiting at least another month or so.  You won't be disappointed. 

Gaming Performance with Splinter Cell: CT and Quake 4


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  • mitcoes - Saturday, April 22, 2006 - link

    The msot important question about corel duo, is if dual processors Apple Machines with ATI X1900XT woul be a better machine than AMD and Pentium with one processor at same clocks. Better when core duo would arrive to 3 Mhz or nearby. Becouse hard gamers, and renderers would buy this (expending a few more bucks) and have the choice of use MAC OS, Win XP, an Linux on the same machine with opengl games probably going better in Leopard than in XP becouse of the better networking of UNIX and Linux over TCP/IP. The test of packets losed with Quake3 XP vs Leopard would be a great test, becouse probably AMD, and Pentium with same clocks and ATI would have similar preformance in games that are not prepared for two processors, but Photoshop CS2, blender And other CAD/CAM apps would run better. Perhaps The future new market of Apple machines are hard gamers, and hard users like architects, renderers, animators and so one. But it must be tested. And I want to know if MAC mainboards are better than ASUS and Gigabyte ones (or other better if them exists). Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - link

    Congrat AT commenters! I have to say, this is the new HIGH SCORE for useless, incorrect, biased, self important posts in the history of AT!

    Really, i was going to respond to each one in turn, but I think its far easier just to make this one post where i point out that many, many, many of you should likely try lurking a bit instead of instantly hitting the reply button and spouting off about latencys, bus widths, and other thing your Toms Hardware Education degree has certified you an expert at. We will all be more intelligent if you didnt post.
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    They should have used low latency DDR2-533 rather than the normal JEDEC specified 4-4-4-12 latency for their reviews. It might be faster then :)).

    Also, testing Sonoma notebooks have shown that it likes single channel DDR2-533 better than DDR2-400, like how it doesn't benefit from dual channel. I would also like to see DDR2-667 results(over dual channel DDR2-533), as few % here and there will really show Yonah's potential.
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Yes that would be interesting, as Anantech does have Corsair DDR2-667 3-2-2-8 available in their repitoire. Reply
  • StuckMojo - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    I'd like to see compilation benchmarks. Lots of us use our laptops for software development.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link


    At the recent Spec CPU Cint2000 test--The most fast x86 CPU about compiler is P4 670.
    176.gcc 2195/2195 ponits

    PM@2.26GHz(1995/1994) is fast than FX-55@2.6GHz(1931/1933).

  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    If any of you actually care to search for transistor performance of Intel's and AMD/IBM, you can see that AMD/IBM's the newest 65nm process is only 2-3% faster but Intel is providing the numbers at HALF the leakage.

    There WILL be X2 clock speed like versions of Yonah with higher TDP and being graded as EE.

    -Equal platform comparisons are never possible.
    -DDR2's power advantage isn't as great as you think.
    -We don't know if Turion would benefit at all from DDR2 in performance, the claimed 15% or so is at best case, aka single benchmark. It always happens, companies say some wonder number and in reality its even worse than the previous one.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    The very low latency of L2 cache is the main real reason? AT may be foreget that L2 can be shared, which is different with AMD. Reply
  • Schmide - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong. Doesn't the AMD architecture have a 3 cycle L1 latency due to an exclusive L1 L2 cache relationship. While Intel uses a 2 cycle L1 inclusive L1 L2 cache relationship. With the larger cache sizes now, the more costly exclusive set seems to be holding AMD back. However, this higher latency could be the reason AMD is able to reach higher speeds using a lower process.

    As for the power consumption, I wonder if the board design had anything to do with the X2 being 30% higher. Chime in here

    On die memory controller advantage AMD.
    DDR2 lower power consumption advantage Intel
    65nm process advantage Intel
    Mature SOI advantage AMD.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    You are wrong about the cache of Yonah. The mobile CPU is different with the Netburst.Yonah's L1 latency is 3 cycles, and it is a kind of write-back cache, which needs not always copy the data to L2. L2 latency is 14 cycles(AT said), which is the same with AthonX2. And Yonah's number of pipeline stages is 11,12, or 13. The AthonX2 is 12-stage. So, (Include AT)we believe that Yonah can reach the high frequency. The real reason of Yonah only max 2.16GHz -- for the moblie applications ... to control the power sum. Reply

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