Good-bye, Pentium — hello, Core 2 Duo

by admin July 28, 2006 at 10:46 am

SANTA CLARA, California — Intel officially closed the books on the Pentium era on Thursday with the Core 2 Duo, its most important product launch in 13 years.

“This is not just an incremental change; this is a revolutionary leap,” Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at a launch event here, held in a heavily air-conditioned tent. The last time the company held such an event at its headquarters was when it introduced the Pentium processor in 1993, a similarly important milestone in its history.

Back then, the PC market was a fraction of its current size, Otellini said. Pentium quickly became one of the computer industry’s most recognised brands, albeit in a much different competitive environment.

The Core 2 Duo launch comes as Advanced Micro Devices narrows the gap between the two companies with better-performing products for desktops and servers. At the same time, the PC industry is searching for a boost after a bad financial quarter and yet another delay in the launch of Microsoft’s Windows Vista update.

However, Intel thinks it’s back. Early reviews of the Core 2 Duo have been stellar, and the chipmaker has accumulated more design wins for the new processors than for any other new processor in its history, Otellini said.

The Core 2 Duo is based on Intel’s Core microarchitecture, an offshoot of its work over the last decade to shift away from chasing clock speed as the holy grail of performance. Simply put, chips based on the Core microarchitecture do more work per clock cycle. Intel designers changed the way instructions move through the processor and developed a more sophisticated cache memory design to improve its performance and alleviate the inefficiencies of its front-side bus, or the link between the processor and the main memory.

Full article: ZDNet Australia