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It's official: Intel's Core 2 Duo processors are out

The new chips offer better performance, greater efficiency

By Sumner Lemon and Ben Ames
July 27, 2006 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Intel Corp. unveiled its new Core 2 Duo processor lineup today, increasing the pressure on rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The 10 new dual-core chips promise markedly better performance and greater energy efficiency than Intel's existing products.

The Core 2 Duo launch has been billed as Intel's most significant since the introduction of the original Pentium processor in 1993. The introduction comes at a crucial moment. Intel executives have watched AMD expand its share of the processor market in recent quarters, and they want to reclaim the lost ground.

"We're really bullish on Core 2 Duo, and we believe that it's going to enable us to grow a significant amount of [market] share over the second half of the year. That's our goal," said Tim Bailey, director of platform marketing at Intel Asia-Pacific.

Among the chips announced by Intel are five processors designed for laptops and five desktop chips, including the high-end Core 2 Extreme processor for gamers. Pricing for the desktop chips ranges from $183 for the 1.86-GHz Core 2 Duo E6300 to $999 for the 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800. Pricing for the mobile chips was not available.

Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme are based on Intel's Core microarchitecture, which replaces the NetBurst architecture used in the Pentium 4. The same microarchitecture is used in Woodcrest, the latest version of the Xeon server processor, which was announced last month.

PC vendors say Core 2 Duo, formerly called Conroe and Merom, offers excellent performance for its price, allowing them to reach new markets.

Hewlett-Packard Co. will use the Core 2 Duo chip in its new xw4400 workstation, replacing the Intel Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips used in the xw4300 model. HP sells that line primarily to users running compute-intensive applications like mechanical computer-aided design and digital content creation.

Core 2 Duo runs at slower clock speeds than Pentium-era chips but is still more productive because it handles more calculations per clock cycle, said Sean Tucker, a product manager at HP. Thanks to that slower speed, Core 2 Duo chips need less electricity, drawing just 65 watts compared with the Pentium 4's 95 W and the Pentium D's 130 W.

"That's good news for customers. It draws less power from the wall, which helps to create a cooler working environment because it doesn’t dissipate so much heat, and a quieter environment because we can run the fan slower and generate less acoustical output,” Tucker said.

Although Intel has begun shipping desktop Core 2 Duo chips to computer makers, most systems won't reach consumers until next week. The first Core 2 Duo desktops will be available to users in early August, with Core 2 Duo laptops arriving by the end of the month, Intel said. Core 2 Extreme systems are already available.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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