The processor wars are really sizzling these days and the recent spate of price cuts from both Intel and AMD in late July 2007 have sent a lot of DIY folks running to grab their new processor and motherboard upgrades. With up to 50% price cuts, who could resist?
AMD's move was merely a price revision to offer a competitive lineup that can hold up against Intel's current onslaught till the much-awaited Athlon X4 series which hopefully see daylight during the yearend holiday season. Intel on the other hand refreshed their entire mid to high-end processor lineup with CPU cores of newer stepping, speedier FSB operation and new processor model names to reflect these incremental changes along with the new price tags. For a lot of enthusiasts who by now are all too familiar with the advantages of the Intel's Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad series, it's quite a no-brainer on their platform of choice. AMD of course is still in the running and has had a slight market share increase as of recent times. One of the reasons is of course the price advantage of the AMD platform which has always been a little more affordable than Intel's and together with the competitive CPU prices, AMD has a decent solution for the mainstream and budget market.
Amidst all these, AMD has launched more power efficient entry level dual-core processors just prior to Computex 2007 in the guise of the BE-2xxx series. AMD's marketing and the online community quickly lapped up the power efficient angle of these processors, but realistically speaking, they offered little advantage over the competition in our lab test. This is because Intel had already launched a new line of processors known as the Pentium Dual-Core series which replaces the aging Pentium D lineup and are priced head on with the AMD's BE-2xxx series. The Pentium Dual-Core series is nothing but a 1MB L2 cache version of the Core 2 Duo series, and as such, Intel's offerings fared equally well if not better than AMD's processors with similar power consumption levels as revealed in an earlier article . It's still a puzzle though on why Intel couldn't just capitalize on the famous Core 2 Duo nomenclature than going with the old Pentium classification. On a side note, even the Celeron series still lives on, though the new 4xx models in the market are also based on the Core architecture. These are however uni-core processors just like the Semprons which they face-off. So Intel's processor lineup has finally completely shifted to the Core architecture.
The Pentium Dual-Core processors are available in two models currently, the E2140 (1.6GHz) and E2160 (1.8GHz) with a third 2GHz iteration coming out real soon. These processors use the same Allendale cores which are characterized by the 2MB L2 cache based Core2 Duo E4000 series, but with only half the working cache (1MB). As such, the Pentium Dual-core series share all the same features and specifications as well. Here's a table representation of how the Pentium Dual-core models stack with the rest of the Core 2 Duo series:-
|Processor Name||Intel Core 2 Duo / Pentium Dual Core (Allendale)||Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe)||AMD Atlhon 64 X2 / Athlon X2 (Brisbane)||AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Windsor)|
||E6320, E6420, E6550, E6750, E6850||
||3600+ - 6000+|
||1.86GHz - 3.0GHz||
||2.0GHz - 3.0GHz|
|No. of Cores||2||2||2||2|
|Front Side Bus (MHz)||800||1066 / 1333||-||-|
|HyperTransport Bus||-||-||1GHz (2000MT/s)||1GHz (2000MT/s)|
|L1 Cache (data + instruction)||(32KB + 32KB) x 2||(32KB + 32KB) x 2||(64KB + 64KB) x 2||(64KB + 64KB) x 2|
|L2 Cache||1MB / 2MB (shared)||4MB||512KB x 2||(256KB / 512KB / 1MB) x 2|
|Memory Controller||External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800)||External Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800)||Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800)||Integrated Dual Channel (up to DDR2-800)|
|VID (V)||0.85 - 1.5||0.85 - 1.3625||1.15 - 1.25||1.35 - 1.40|
|TDP (W)||65||65||45 / 65||35 / 65 / 89 / 125|
|Execute Disable Bit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Intel EM64T / AMD64||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) / AMD Cool 'n' Quiet||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Process Technology||65nm||65nm||65nm SOI||90nm SOI|
|Die Size||111mm²||143mm²||118 - 126mm²||183 - 218mm²|
|No. of Transistors||167 million||291 million||154 - 221 million||154 - 227.4 million|