Intel Core vs. AMD Athlon 64

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Intel vs. AMD Redux. With the new Intel Core Solo and Duo out, its really interesting to see how they perform compared with the Athlon 64. To use the geek terms:

Core is a blend of P-M techniques and NetBurst architecture. However, Core is clearly a descendant of the Pentium Pro, or the P6 architecture. It is very hard to find anything “Pentium 4” or “NetBurst” in the Core architecture. While talking to Jack Doweck, it became clear that only the prefetching was inspired by experiences with the Pentium 4. Everything else is an evolution of “Yonah” (Core Duo), which was itself an improvement of Dothan and Banias. Those CPUs inherited the bus of the Pentium 4, but are still clearly children of the hugely successful P6 architecture. In a sense, you could call Core the “P8” architecture, with Banias/Dothan being based on the “P7” architecture. (Note that the architecture of Banias/Dothan was never given an official name, so we will refer to it as “P-M” for simplicity’s sake.)

Confused yet. Basically what happened is that the old desktop Pentium architecture, called the Pentium D (Prescott) and Pentium 4 (Northwood) in its latest incarnation has replaced by the mobile line of processors that grew up from the Pentium Pro P6 architecture from 2000. It performs better at lower power, so in a sense the mobile group at Intel Hafia “won” over the traditional desktop approach.

The big differences are a huge 4MB cache and a much shorter pipeline than the Pentium Ds and very sophisticated address and operations calculations. It looks like the Core strategy is a pretty big winner for mobile, desktop and server.

Tech Report did one with the ASUS N4L-VM Intel Core Duo desktop motherboards. Codenamed Yonah and made with a state of the art 65 nm fabrication process. This is truly state of the art. The results shown all with the same GeForce 7800 GTX 512. In this case they are comparing the Core Duo T2600 which is confusingly actually running at 2.166GHz and according to Pricegrabber running at an amazing $650, you can get the only slightly slower 2GHz T2500 for $416.

  • Intel Core Duo T2600. 2.166GHz 90.9
  • Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.4GHz. 88.3
  • Athlon 64 X2 3800+. 2.0GHz 68.8
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