Intel Core2


Core microarchitecture based

The successor to Core is the mobile version of the Intel Core 2 line of processors using cores based upon the Intel Core microarchitecture, released on July 27, 2006. The release of the mobile version of Intel Core 2 marks the reunification of Intel’s desktop and mobile product lines as Core 2 processors were released for desktops and notebooks, unlike the first Intel Core CPUs that were targeted only for notebooks (although some small form factor and all-in-one desktops, like the iMac and the Mac Mini, also used Core processors).

Unlike the Intel Core, Intel Core 2 is a 64-bit processor, supporting Intel 64. Another difference between the original Core Duo and the new Core 2 Duo is an increase in the amount of Level 2 cache. The new Core 2 Duo has tripled the amount of on-board cache to 6 MB. Core 2 also introduced a quad-core performance variant to the single- and dual-core chips, branded Core 2 Quad, as well as an enthusiast variant, Core 2 Extreme. All three chips are manufactured at a 65 nm lithiography, and in 2008, a 45 nm lithiography and support Front Side Bus speeds ranging from 533 MHz to 1600 MHz. In addition, the 45 nm die shrink of the Core microarchitecture adds SSE4.1 support to all Core 2 microprocessors manufactured at a 45 nm lithiography, therefore increasing the calculation rate of the processors.

Core 2 Solo

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The Core 2 Solo, introduced in September 2007, is the successor to the Core Solo and is available only as an ultra-low-power mobile processor with 5.5 Watt thermal design power. The original U2xxx series “Merom-L” was using a special version of the Merom chip with CPUID number 10661 (model 22, stepping A1) that only had a single core and was also used in some Celeron processors. The later SU3xxx are part of Intel’s CULV range of processors in a smaller µFC-BGA 956 package but contain the same Penryn chip as the dual-core variants, with one of the cores disabled during manufacturing.

Core 2 Duo

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The majority of the desktop and mobile Core 2 processor variants are Core 2 Duo with two processor cores on a single Merom, Conroe, Allendale, Penryn or Wolfdale chip. These come in a wide range of performance and power consumption, starting with the relatively slow ultra-low-power Uxxxx (10 W) and low-power Lxxxx (17 W) versions, to the more performance oriented Pxxxx (25 W) and Txxxx (35 W) mobile versions and the Exxxx (65 W) desktop models. The mobile Core 2 Duo processors with an ‘S’ prefix in the name are produced in a smaller µFC-BGA 956 package which allows building more compact Laptops.

Within each line, a higher number usually refers to a better performance, which depends largely on core and front-side bus clock frequence and amount of second level cache, which are model specific. Core 2 Duo processors typically use the full L2 cache of 2, 3, 4 or 6 MB available in the specific stepping of the chip, while versions with the amount of cache reduced during manufacturing are sold for the low-end consumer market as Celeron or Pentium Dual-Core Dual-Core processors. Like those processors, some low-end Core 2 Duo models disable features such as Intel Virtualization Technology. Details can be found at the list of Intel Core 2 microprocessors.

Core 2 Quad

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Core 2 Quad processors are multi-chip modules consisting of two dies similar to those used in Core 2 Duo, forming a quad-core processor. While this allows twice the performance to a dual-core processors at the same clock frequency in ideal conditions, this is highly workload specific and requires applications to take advantage of the extra cores. Also, high-end Core 2 Duo processors often operate at higher clock frequencies, so the performance for single-thread workloads would be worse on a Core 2 Quad.

Initially, all Core 2 Quad models were versions of Core 2 Duo desktop processors, Kentsfield derived from Conroe and Yorkfield from Wolfdale, but later Penryn-QC was added as a high-end version of the mobile dual-core Penryn.

The Xeon 31xx and 33xx processors are mostly identical versions of the desktop Core 2 Quad processors and can be used interchangeably.

Core 2 Extreme

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Core 2 Extreme processors are enthusiast versions of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, usually with a higher clock frequency and an unlocked clock multiplier, which makes them especially attractive for overclocking. This is similar to earlier Pentium processors labeled as Extreme Edition. Core 2 Extreme processors were released at a much higher price than their regular version

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