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Monday, July 17, 2006

The Core 2: Intel Goes for the Jugular

The Core 2 E6700 is on the left, and the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 on the right. These are engineering samples, hence the "Intel Confidential" label.

Extremetech tells how Intel's core 2 pwns:

"After a long gestation period, Intel has successfully delivered on its promise of substantially faster CPUs that use significantly less power. For the near term, Core 2 looks like the must-have CPU for enthusiast and mainstream user alike.

So far, AMD's only short-term response seems to be its odd "4x4" technology, a hybrid dual-socket technology aimed at truly hardcore users. But even those hardcore users may simply opt for Core 2 Extreme. After all, it seems to be easily overclockable beyond 3GHz, and runs like a bat out of hell—and uses less power and generates less heat than a potential dual-socket FX-based system. Next year, we'll see the K8L line emerge from AMD. But for the interim, it's going to be a long, hot summer and a cold winter for AMD. About the only thing AMD can do is play the pricing game, which can only cut into profits.

That's not to say that everything will be clear sailing for Intel. The company still has a substantial inventory of NetBurst processors that it will need to work through. Demand is likely to be quite high for Core 2, and the issue of product allocation may rear its ugly head. To its credit, Intel has been busy building Core 2 CPUs, but high demand may still put a stress on production and distribution. Intel claims that boxed, retail processors should be on store shelves less than a month after the launch, while systems from most manufacturers will be available on day one.

That's a problem that Intel is probably happy to have at this point. Core 2 looks like a winner, and will likely be the shiny new bauble that performance enthusiasts love to have dangled in front of them. We're certainly impressed with what we've seen—high performance and low power utilization. And while Core 2 Extreme is pricey, the E6700 demonstrates that it's no slouch, either."


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