For the past few years, Intel's desktop processors have been playing second fiddle to AMD's Athlon 64 in a number of ways. Both single and dual-core variants of the Athlon 64 have been at the top of most benchmark charts essentially since their introduction, and AMD's processors have been more energy efficient as well. Conversely, since the introduction of the Prescott core, Intel's processors have earned a somewhat notorious reputation for running hot and consuming more than their fare share of power.
This scenario has played out since September of 2003, when AMD first released the Athlon 64 FX-51. But it all ends today. A while back Intel announced that they would be abandoning the Netburst microarchitecture, on which all of their current Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors are based, in favor of a new microarchitecture that incorporated the best of Netburst but borrowed heavily from their low-power, high-performance Pentium-M.
The Core microarchitecture as it is now known will be the basis for a whole line of mobile (Merom), desktop (Conroe), and server (Woodcrest) processors. Over the last few months, we've posted some information and performance data regarding Conroe, but up until now we haven't been able to fully evaluate one of these processors ourselves in our own labs. Today we're going to serve up a detailed look at Conroe and hopefully explain how Intel reclaimed the performance crown from their rivals.
We have posted a myriad of information related to Intel's Core microarchitecture and Core 2 Duo and Extreme processors over the last few months here at HotHardware.com. For some more background on the technologies employed by the Core microarchitecture and Intel's platform as a whole, we suggest taking a look at few of these related articles. They contain detailed explanations of some of the features common to Intel's legacy products, compatible chipsets, and the new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors:
- Core 2 Duo Performance Update: June 2006
- AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 and 5000+ Evaluation
- Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Evaluation
- Conroe Benchmarks From IDF
- Pentium Extreme Edition 955 & i975X Express Chipset Evaluation
- Pentium Extreme Edition 840 Preview
- Pentium D 820 & i945G/P Evaluation
We cover some specifics regarding Intel's 65nm manufacturing process in our 955XE / i975X evaluation and outline Intel's AMT (Active Management Technology) and IVT (Intel Virtualization Technology), among other things, in our Pentium D 820 and i945G/P evaluation. We also cover more of the features integrated into Intel's dual-core processors in our Pentium Extreme Edition 840 preview. The Conroe benchmarks from this year's IDF and our June performance update will give you some background as to how the Core 2 Duo's performance has changed over the last few months, leading up to today's official launch.