The first Intel Core processors were announced in January 2006, at the heart of the new Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology platform. It was a short time later, at the Intel Development Forum of March 2006 that, Intel unveiled details of its new Intel Core microarchitecture, the successor to the NetBurst and mobile Pentium M architectures and foundation for the company’s forthcoming multi-core server, desktop and mobile processors. The new microarchitecture is based around an updated version of the Yonah core.
The extreme heat output of NetBurst-based processors and the resulting inability to effectively increase clock speed was the principal reason for the architecture’s abandonment. The Intel Core Microarchitecture was designed by the same team that designed the highly successful Pentium M chip and builds on he power-saving philosophy begun with the Mobile Pentium M processor microarchitecture.
While the first Intel Core chips were targeted for notebook PCs only, the initial release of Intel Core microarchitecture processors announced in the summer of 2006 encompassed both dual and single-core products, in versions targeting all market sectors. The codenames for these were “Merom” (mobile systems), “Conroe” (desktops) and “Woodcrest” (servers). Importantly, therefore, the new architecture marked the reunification of Intel’s desktop and mobile product lines.
The new architecture employs a much shorter pipeline length than its NetBurst predecessor (14 stages, less that half that of a Prescott CPU) and a dual core design with linked Level 1 cache and shared Level 2 cache, engineered for maximum performance per watt and improved scalability. It includes a number of new technologies. One is Macro-Ops Fusion, which combines two x86 instructions into a single microinstruction. Another is 1 cycle throughput (2 cycles previously) of all 128-bit SSE instructions and a new power saving design which allows components to run at minimum speed, ramping up speed dynamically as and when needed. This allows the chip to produce less heat, and consume as little power as possible.
- Intel CoreDuo
- Intel CoreSolo
- Intel Core2
- Guide to the Intel Core 2 Quad and Extreme processors
- Technical guide to the Intel Penryn Core 2 Processor
- SSE4 – Intel’s enhanced multimedia focussed CPU instruction set