Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo - Merom Debuts

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It is fairly safe to say that Intel has far and away been the dominant player in the mobile processor market for what seems like forever.  Though AMD's Turion 64 is a solid alternative to Intel solutions, clearly AMD's market share of 13% or so is an obvious sign that the company just hasn't been able to penetrate the Notebook space with the same level of success they have in the Desktop and Server markets.  And while the prospects of a combined AMD/ATI total solution approach for notebooks is encouraging, Intel continues its onslaught of Core 2 releases which today also officially takes flight in the Mobile CPU arena.

With the performance profile we saw in Conroe testing on the desktop, it certainly looks like Intel is poised to maintain or widen that market share with Merom in notebooks.  We'll step you through key specifics of Merom and how it performs in the pages ahead, so you can make your own judgments. 

Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo Processors
Specifications & Features
  • 1.66GHz / 2.33GHz Dual Core Processors
  • 667MHz "Quad-Pumped" front side bus
  • .065-micron manufacturing process
  • Shared Smart Cache Technology
  • 2MB - 4MB on-chip, full-speed L2 cache - Shared across each core
  • Intel EM64T Extensions - 64-bit computing
  • Execute Disable Bit - For enhanced security
  • Streaming SIMD Extensions - SSE2, SSE3
  • Supported by the Mobile Intel 945 Express chipset family
  • Socket 479 Packaging - PGA
  • 1.0375 - 1.35v operating voltage range
  • 34 watts TPD (Thermal Design Power)
  • Die Size: Approximately 143mm2
  • Approximately 291M Transistors

Core 2 Duo "Merom" Die

The long and short of the specification list we've noted above is that a Core 2 Duo processor for Mobile/Notebook applications is essentially built on the identical CPU architecture that Core 2 Duo processors for the Desktop are (and even Core 2's Server versions for that matter). 

Clearly, a common architecture approach offers huge economies of scale efficiencies from a manufacturing standpoint for Intel.  Beyond its Socket 479 PGA packaging, the only difference between the Desktop and Mobile versions of Core 2 Duo is that Merom is built with more aggressive power savings in mind. Additionally, Conroe chips have a measured operating voltage of around 1.3V while, from our initial observations, Merom runs in the 1.1V range.

Previously we've covered Intel's Core 2 Duo processor in various environments, both Mobile and Desktop.  As a refresh on the architecture, we recommend perusing the following HotHardware articles:  

 A closer look at Merom is next...

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