Articles: CPU

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You can see that it is so by even listing the main formal specs of the Core microarchitecture. For example, Intel processors based on Core Microarchitecture can process up to four instructions per clock cycle, which is more than their predecessors could do, even those based on NetBurst microarchitecture. This way, the upcoming Intel processors should theoretically be faster than any other contemporary CPUs including the competitors from AMD working at the same clock speed. The execution pipeline of processors based on Core Microarchitecture is 14 stages long. It means that the frequencies of upcoming processors will definitely be lower than those of Pentium 4 and Pentium D with a more than 30-stage pipeline. However, if we consider the “performance per watt”, then a shorter pipeline will be an indisputable advantage.

As for the specifics, the first CPUs with Intel Core Microarchitecture will have dual-core design (within a single die), 64KB L1 cache (32KB for data and 32KB for instructions) and shared L2 cache 2Mb or 4MB big. It is extremely important to point out that Core Microarchitecture based processors will support 64-bit Enhanced Memory 64 Technology extensions (EM64T). This is a significant distinguishing feature of the new microarchitecture versus the microarchitecture of Pentium M processors, which do not support 64bit work modes just like their successors, Core Duo CPUs.

The peculiarities of Core Microarchitecture allow designing CPUs with different features for various market segments. The developers claim that by dropping the clock frequency only 15% lower, they can artificially reduce the peak power consumption of the future processors by half. This feature gives green light to three parallel processor families for the mobile, server and desktop markets at the same time. The new notebook processors based on the new microarchitecture and known as Merom will be designed basing on the typical heat dissipation requirements that cannot exceed 35W. As a result, they will run about 20% faster than the mobile computers on Intel Core Duo CPUs, while the battery life will remain the same. The server processors known as Woodcrest will be 80% faster than the today’s dual-core Xeon CPUs, while their typical power consumption will get about 35% lower and will equal 80W. As for the desktop processors, they are known as Conroe. The Conroe performance is forecast to grow up by about 40% compared with the current performance of the top models from the Pentium D 9XX family. As for the typical power consumption, it will drop down by about the same 40%. As a result, the power consumption of the upcoming desktop processors (except the models targeted for computer enthusiasts) will lie within 65W range.

The performance and power consumption numbers we have just discussed look very impressive. However, it is really hard to believe that the CPUs based on Pentium M microarchitecture can really do it. Therefore, it is high time we discussed the innovations introduced in the new Intel Core Microarchitecture in order to make all your doubts and concerns vanish.

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