Intel's Core 2 Processors
By Stephen Bucaro
Intel's Core 2 processors, released in July of 2006, are based on the
"Core microarchitecture", which Intel calls "Core 2", as apposed to the Pentium's
"NetBurst" core, which might be dubbed "Core 1" and was not performance
competitive with AMD's Athlon 64 architecture.
The Core 2 architecture is a dual core design, having two cores integrated on a single
die. The dual cores use a 65nm manufacturing process to put 291 million transistors on
a 143 square mm die. Each core has its own separate 64KB L1 cache that's divided into
a 32KB instruction cache and 32KB data cache. The two cores share an L2 cache that can
be either 2MB or 4MB.
Core 2 product line features the "Core 2 Duo", and the "Core 2 Extreme".
The "Duo" is designed for the high-performance notebook and desktop market,
and runs at clock speeds of 1.86 GHz for the E6300 chip, to 2.66 GHz for the E6700
chip. The low-end E6300 and E6400 processors have only 2MB of L2 cache, while the E6600
and E6700 have 4MB of L2 cache
The Core 2 Extreme, designed for the extreme power required by users such as
high-end graphics professionals, runs at a clock speed of 2.93 GHz for the X6800 chip.
Core 2 achieves its performance by executing more instructions per clock cycle through
a shorter instruction pipeline. Core 2 is also more power efficient, disipating only 65 Watts
compared to 130 Watts or more for a high-end Pentium.
- Pipelining is a technique where several instructions, each at a different stage
of processing, are in the pipeline being processsed simultaneously, when an instruction
reaches the end of the pipeline, its execution is complete.
Core 2 processors have two cores with Intel's Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T)
and operate with a 1066MHz Front Side Bus (FSB). They feature the Execute Disable Bit (XDB),
which prevents viruses from exploiting buffer overrun vulnerabilities. They operate
with 0.85 - 1.3625 Volts and use the LGA775 socket.