Intel Core microarchitecture details have been unveiled and it's more than just pipeline optimizations. The five main features that make up the Core microarchitecture are listed below.
Core microarchitecture will introduce a new feature called Macro-fusion, similar to Micro-fusion, but fusing instead 2 higher-level x86 instructions into a single instruction, thus increasing performance again while being more efficient.
Core microarchitecture will also have advanced pre-fetch techniques to optimize memory access bandwidth and reduce latency.
Keynotes aren't really the platform to extract really detailed information about the Core microarchitecture, but Rattner did provide the projected returns on performance and the energy savings we will see when Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest are launched around Q3 this year. With the new Core microarchitecture, Merom would exhibit a 20% performance gain over a comparable Core Duo processor (T2600 was used as an example) while keeping battery life constant. In any case, the myth about Merom being nothing more than a Yonah (Core Duo) with 64-bit can now be laid to rest.
Conroe desktop processors are predicted to exhibit a good 40% performance increase over a similar Pentium D 950 while reducing power consumption by 40% as well. Finally, the server-side Woodcrest will feature the biggest jump in performance as Rattner claims up to 80% performance gains with a 35% energy saving compared to a relative Xeon 2.8GHz with 4MB L2. Now if these numbers are to be believed, the second half of 2006 may very well swing back into Intel's favor.