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.
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:
- Core 2 Duo E6700 & Core 2 Extreme X6800 Launch
- Centrino Duo Whitebook: A Do-It-Yourself Laptop
- Intel "Duo-Zone" Photo-Report
- Core 2 Duo Performance Update: June 2006
- Conroe Benchmarks From IDF
A closer look at Merom is next...