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Intel Core 2 Duo - Test
by Franck Delattre et Marc Prieur
Published on July 4, 2006

Netburst is dead, and long live Core ! This is something Intel announced a little over a year ago. The Netburst architecture introduced with the Pentium 4 in November 2000 is now replaced by a new architecture called Core, available for desktop, mobile and server platforms.

Intel will release new Xeons in the days to come and at the end of July the Core 2 Duo LGA 775 processors. This is a great opportunity for BeHardware.com to study the release of Core architecture but also the performances of the Core 2 Duo product line in practice.

« The Core legacy »
To understand the technical aspects in Core architecture, it’s important to look at the past. We go back to the past few years to the end of 2000. At this time, the entire line of Intel processors (desktop, server and mobile) relied on P6 architecture, which was introduced 6 years ago with the Pentium Pro. Despite improvements going along with new versions it eventually started to run out of steam. This was especially true compared to AMD and the Athlon, which won a very symbolic and marketing race in Gigahertz. It was urgent for Intel to release a new architecture to replace the P6.

The introduction of a new architecture isn´t an easy task. It must, from its release, show at least as a good performance compared to the most advanced products based on the previous architecture and also (and mainly) have a potential for evolution in the next five or six years to come. This is the average time required to make R&D investments profitable and has been Intel´s way of proceeding since the start of its company even if the presence of competitors has tended to accelerate product renewal. The objective is to avoid reproducing the Pentium III EB 1.13 GHz mishap that pushed the P6 architecture to its limits in such a way that the processor had to be recalled and withdrawn from the market.

This was probably the main worry in evolution in the definition of Netburst architecture. Netburst has been conceived to provide growing performances throughout its lifespan. Let´s see how it was done.

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