Monday, May 08, 2006

Intel's Core Duo: Coming to a store near you

Intel has decided to borrow the sequential naming scheme it used for its famous Pentium brand and apply it to the new Core line of chips, the company is expected to announce Sunday. Earlier this year, Intel released the Core Duo processor, and in a few months it will unveil Core 2 Duo processors. The Core 2 Duo name will be used for desktop chips based on the Conroe chip, as well as for notebook chips based on the Merom chip. Merom processors consume less power than Conroe chips, but they're otherwise very similar.

Each Core 2 Duo chip will also have a model number that will indicate how much power it consumes and its relative performance, said Intel spokesman Bill Kircos. The Conroe processors will fall into either the 4000 series or 6000 series, while Merom processors will use either the 5000 series or 7000 series numbers, he said.

Conveniently, the Conroe numbers match up well with the model numbers used by Advanced Micro Devices on its current generation of dual-core Athlon 64 X2 desktop processors. AMD's highest-rated Athlon 64 X2 processor as of Friday is the X2 4800+. Kircos declined to comment on whether Intel chose the new scheme to line up with AMD's model numbers.

Each one of Intel's model numbers will be preceded by a letter that indicates how much power the chip consumes at its peak. This is the first time Intel has incorporated power consumption into its model numbers. For example, the Core 2 Duo E6800 processor would represent a dual-core Core-architecture processor that consumes between 55 watts and 75 watts of power, which Intel considers the standard desktop PC category. The hypothetical Core 2 Duo T5400 would represent a dual-core Core chip that consumes between 25 watts and 55 watts of power, a range Intel thinks is appropriate for most notebooks and some desktops.

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