Kentsfield under the microscope
>> Processors

Written by Marc Prieur
Published on September 11, 2006


Tom’s Hardware published the preview of the Kentsfield, a processor including two Core 2 cores (4 core in total). The product tested uses stepping 5 dies whereas the version currently used by Core 2 in shops is the 6. There are not however many differences the two versions.

Performances of course depend on the software. Some are allergic to 4 CPUs (Call Of Duty 2, Microsoft WMA Encoder) and others are processed as fast or slightly faster with four cores. The domain of videos or rendering however fully benefits from 4 cores. It is logical as it is much easier to split this type of operation in several threads. Here are a nutshell the frequencies required for a « Core 2 Quadro » to match up or be faster than a Core 2 Duo 2.93 GHz (X6800):

- 3.00 GHz : Quake 4, UT2004, iTunes, Lame, Ogg-Vorbis, Pinnacle Studio, XVID, Clone DVD, AVG Antivirus 7.1, Photoshop CS2 (conversion), MS Word 2003+Acrobat 7 Pro, MS Power Point 2003+Acrobat 7 Pro,
- 2.66 GHz : WinRAR 3.6, Photoshop CS2 (rendering)
- 2.33 GHz : DIVX
- 2.00 GHz : MainConcept H.264 Encoder, Premiere Pro 2.0, Windows Media Encoder, 3d studio max 8.0

These results aren’t really surprising. The most important performance gain measured is with MainConcept H.264 Encoder. At equivalent frequency, it is 68% faster with 4 cores than with 2. Tom’s measured that the power consumption of a configuration based on Core 2 Quadro at 2.66 GHz reached 167 Watts in stand by and 260 Watts in use! This is less than a Pentium EE 840 which configuration requires 275 Watts. It provides much different performances but it requires a lot more energy. The last point is the Overclocking. The sample tested reached 3.33 GHz stable without voltage increase.

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