There are rich people and there are not very rich people, but whatever category you belong to, you are likely to agree on one point – everyone wants to buy as much as he can for as little money as possible regardless of the fact that free cheese can only be found in the mousetrap. It is for such people who are afraid of overpaying or who just can’t afford anything else but need something real bad that the low-end product category was invented.
What is a low-end notebook, anyway? A few years ago it was nothing but a typewriter you could carry about with you from time to time. Such notebooks have acquired faster CPUs, larger hard disks, and a lot of wireless interfaces eventually, yet there has never been an entry-level notebook solution with two CPU cores.
Finally, in response to notebook manufacturers Intel has cut down its top-end model to create a new CPU segment between the entry-level Celeron and the better-level Core 2 Duo.
The new CPU is called Intel Pentium Dual-Core. It has nothing to do with the Pentium M or Celeron, being closer to the Core Duo. It is based on the 65nm Yonah core with a shared 1MB L2 cache, which is half the minimum amount of cache memory in the full-featured Yonah and Merom processors. The bus frequency is reduced to 533MHz, which brings the new CPU closer to the Dothan-core Pentium M. The bottom CPU frequency, enabled in power-saving mode, is 800MHz. The Yonah’s power-saving technologies are all available, too: Enhanced SpeedStep technology that gives the notebook’s software and BIOS the control over the CPU frequency multiplier (to reduce it under low loads), Dynamic Power Coordination (power consumption of the execution cores can be independently adjusted depending on the current load; one core may even slip into Deep Sleep mode with the lowest power consumption possible) and Dynamic Cache Sizing (unused segments of the CPU cache can be turned off to save power). The CPU supports Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 and the XD bit feature (hardware protection from CPU stack overflow). The virtualization technology is disabled. The typical heat dissipation of Pentium Dual-Core CPUs is 31W, like that of the regular Yonah. The new CPU is much cheaper, though. The marking of T2060 stands for the following: the letter denotes the typical heat dissipation of the CPU, 2 is the number of execution cores, and the remaining digits denote the frequency and special characteristics of the CPU as described above.
In this review we’ll check out how the Intel Pentium Dual-Core performs on the chassis of ASUS’ good old A6 series, in the ASUS A6Rp model. The “Rp” notebooks used to come with Intel’s entry-level Celeron M or Core Solo, but now this segment is occupied by products with Pentium Core-Dual CPUs. The ASUS A6Rp will be opposed by the Acer TravelMate 6463WLMi that has an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz frequency and 2MB L2 cache) and a rather weak graphics core which, however, is one generation more advanced than the integrated graphics core of the ATI Radeon Xpress 200M chipset (for details on the Acer notebook see our article called Acer TravelMate 6463WLMi Notebook: Performance and Security).