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The case of the dual-core Pentium

Crave investigates the source of Pentium's mysterious resurrection.


In the course of writing this week's CPU Roadmap feature (detailing what Intel and AMD will be up to in the next few years), we had a chance to solve the mystery of the Pentium Dual Core T2060 processor, which kept showing up in advertisements and options lists for budget laptops. See, the Pentium brand was supposedly retired with the announcement of Core processors in early 2006. A quick search of Intel's product page reveals no dual-core Pentium. To make matters more confusing, it has what looks like a Core Duo model number. What?

So we put on our sleuth's hats, picked up a magnifying glass, and e-mailed our contact at Intel. She explained that the T2060 is an "off-roadmap" processor, developed at the request of some of Intel's customers. It occupies the middle ground between Pentium M and Core 2 Duo. Like Pentium M, the Pentium Dual Core T2060 is designed for mobile use; and like Core 2 Duo, the T2060 has two processor dies and a shared L2 cache. But the Pentium Dual Core T2060's L2 cache is smaller than that of the Core 2 Duo, and it lacks some of Intel's latest power management features.

In short, it's a budget-friendly way to get a little boost when multitasking. In addition to the Gateway NX270S, the Pentium Dual Core T2060 has been spotted as an option on the HP Pavilion dv6000t, the Acer Aspire 5570, and (under the alias "Core Duo T2060") the Lenovo 3000 C200. And we expect that for the foreseeable future it'll be a mainstay on the options list for sub-$800 notebooks. Case closed.