The New Conroe Processor

PC Perspective brought home a Conroe processor from Taiwan a week ago, and we have been putting it through the paces to see how it performs compared to both AMD’s and Intel’s current flagship CPUs.

UPDATE: We have published a full review of the Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 and now the Core 2 Extreme 6800 (running at 2.93 GHz) on the Intel 975X platform.  You can read the complete article by clicking over to here!!!

An Architecture Born for the Spotlight

Since Intel first admitted that their NetBurst architecture in the Pentium 4 line of processors was going to die, the biggest name in Intel’s desktop marketing and discussions has been Conroe.  Nearly a year ago, Intel unveiled the first bits of information on the new core architecture design that became known as “Core Architecture” during the 2005 Fall IDF conference.  In that article, you can see that Intel was already forth-coming with information on the future of Intel processors, even a year or more out from its release. 

At the Spring 2006 IDF, Intel was in full Conroe-fronting-force as they unvieled just about all the details of the new processor family.  Conroe was to be the codename for the desktop processor lineup, Merom was to be the name of the mobile parts and Woodcrest was to be the server codename.  All of these new families of processors are based on the same Core Architecture with some minor changes to perfect them for their corresponding markets. 

During the show, I wrote up a detailed look at the new architecture from a CPU architects view, revealing information such as the new wider execution units, 128-bit SSE support and fully integrated smart-cache.  If you would like all the details on what makes the Conroe processor such a power house, this article is the place to start.

Not only was Intel willing to share technical details about the architecture, but they were even willing to share some performance numbers as well.  This is pretty unusual to get hands-on with parts this early into their production, but Intel was confident in their new product and wanted to put some pressure on AMD’s Athlon X2 lineup until Conroe was ready.  I was able to get some quick benchmark numbers on a select few tests and share them with you all back on March 10th; not surprisingly they showed the Conroe system with a big performance advantage over the overclocked AMD FX processor used for comparison. 

It has been a while since those tests, but while in Taiwan for Computex this month, someone dropped an engineering sample of a Conroe processor in my pocket.  After getting home and getting some motherboards in with Conroe support, I set out to test this CPU and see what numbers Intel was preparing for enthusiasts in July.

The Processor

If you didn’t know any better, the processor below would appear to be just another LGA775 Pentium processor we have played with numerous times.  The fact that the face has been lapped clean should indicate that someone didn’t want us to find out where it came from, but regardless, what we have here is an engineering sample of the upcoming Conroe core processor.   

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Intel has already officially announced the name of the upcoming desktop branding for these processors, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. 

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Loading up the latest version of CPU-Z, we see that we have a Conroe processor running at 2.67 GHz, with a model number of Core 2 Duo E6700.  According to information circulating around the web, this will be the top speed grade of the Core 2 Duo processors; though there will be a 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo Extreme Edition CPU released as well. 

These processors are built on the 65nm technology that Intel has been ramping up, with a 266 MHz quad-pumped front side bus for a total bus speed of 1066 MHz. 

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On-board cache on CPU-Z indicated we have the correct 4MB of L2 cache on board this chip as well as the 32KB L1 data and instruction caches. 

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The memory is running at DDR2-800 MHz or PC2-6400 speeds, with a CAS Latency of 4.0.  We’ll get into more detail on the test setup on the next page.

Next Page – System Setup and Benchmarks Used

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