Articles: CPU

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The first Intel processors manufactured with 45 nm process were introduced in the end of 2007. Since then dual- and quad-core Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors from Wolfdale and Yorkfield families managed to become very popular due to undoubtedly more attractive combination of consumer features than their predecessors. They offered considerably higher performance in top price segments that is why they quickly ousted the previous generation 65 nm solutions on Kentsfield and Conroe cores. A little later, when 45 nm processors matured even more and their production costs went down, Intel started using Wolfdale cores in inexpensive dual-core CPUs from Core 2 Duo and Pentium series. As a result, there remained only one group of processors among numerous Intel offerings for different market segments that was still using old Conroe (Allendale) processor cores manufactured with 65 nm process. It is Celeron lineup including single-core as well as dual-core solutions from E1600 and 400 series.

However, it is not that surprising at all. Intel traditionally positioned Celeron processors as some kind of “socket-plugs”, which offered minimal performance at very low price. Their speed doesn’t stand a chance, but they easily find their way in users’ systems due to their extremely low price. This Intel’s attitude to Celeron processor family leads to its extremely slow evolution and modest technical specs. In fact, dual-core Celeron processors appeared solely because Intel’s competitor, AMD, started offering CPUs with two computational cores for the low-end price segment and Intel decided not to fall back even in the lowest price range. But at the same time, the working frequencies of dual-core Celeron processors have so far reached only 2.4 GHz, while their L2 cache memory has been limited to absolutely ridiculous 512 KB.

Nevertheless, time has come for a significant refresh in the Celeron camp. The thing is that when AMD Phenom II and AMD Athlon II came out, it was no longer the Sempron solutions that have long sunk into oblivion, but much faster AMD Athlon processors that were competing against Intel Celeron. And these pretty fast alternatives made Celeron look pretty bad even from a formal standpoint. Therefore, Intel had to do some work on improving their junior CPU family by transferring it to new semiconductor dies manufactured with 45nm process. This measure was also possible because production of 45 nm dies was a totally matured process by that time: production costs were low and the production volumes on Intel fabs became so big that introduction of new manufacturing process in the new processor family no longer required to sacrifice the production of more expensive solutions.

As a result, new Celeron processors of yet unknown E3000 revision started to hit the stores. These are the new refreshed low-cost dual-core Intel processors on 45 nm cores. Besides the new manufacturing process, these CPUs acquired higher clock speeds and twice as big L2 cache. No wonder that as a result of these transformations, Intel had to assign new processor model names to these CPUs: new dual-core Celerons are much more superior to their predecessors even at a quick glance. However, it is still a good question what they look like compared to AMD Athlon and more expensive Intel Pentium solutions. So today, we are going to undertake the investigation that should help us determine how good of a buy the new Celeron could be for an inexpensive home or office computer system.

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