Random Access   chris, kp & rob
Geek Candy
Two Brains Are Better Than One - Intel Core 2 Processors
by rob

When AMD came out two years ago with the Athlon 64, they pushed Intel off of the top of the CPU performance hill. Since then, Intel has been doing their homework and what they’ve come up with changes the landscape of the processor war. On July 27, Intel started shipping the new Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme X6800 ... by far the fastest desktop chip available. The Extreme’s little brothers (the Core 2 Duo line) will start shipping on August 7.

Built from scratch, the new Intel Core 2 platform features two cores – or brains – on the same 65-nanometer die. The two cores share a single L2 cache (4MB on the Extreme and high-end Duos) and can swap information as needed without going to the relatively slower main memory. The chips are built from a completely new 64-bit architecture and promise higher performance while needing less power.

The Core 2 processor’s lower power consumption means different things to different users. For desktop users, lower cooling requirements (less reliance on huge heatsinks and fans to cool your system) will mean a quieter computing environment. Notebook users will quickly reap the benefits of longer battery life as well as even smaller form factors.

One of the features that will peak the interest of many geeks out there is the fact that Intel has left the core of the Core 2 Extreme unlocked. This means you’re free to try to overclock this puppy to see just how much power you can squeeze out of it.

In testing, the guys in the Random Access lab said the immediate and noticeable difference was the faster overall computing experience. It wasn’t just a slight bump that they had seen in previous ‘new’ generations of processors.

I can tell you’re all ready to put one of these bad boys to the test but before you go and pop one of these über-fast processors into your motherboard, check the board’s supported processors. It’ll need specific front side bus speeds, processor voltages and cache.

Until next time, try to go as fast as possible without breaking the laws of physics.


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