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Intel releases Core 2 Duo for laptops

Intel releases Core 2 Duo for laptops

Editors' note: The MobileMark performance and battery life scores in this post are currently being reevaluated by CNET Labs. Results will be updated here as needed.

As promised at last month's launch event, this morning saw the release of the laptop versions of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors. The laptop chips boast the same architectural improvements as their desktop brethren; the laptop versions are simply clocked slower and feature a slower frontside bus (667MHz). Intel claims you'll see a 20 percent performance boost over previous-generation Core Duo chips. In addition, the laptop processors feature a few power-saving enhancements, which our early tests show don't do a whole lot to extend battery life. The line comprises five chips at a range of prices:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz): $637
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 (2.16GHz): $423
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 (2.00GHz): $294
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5600 (1.83GHz): $241
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz): $209

    We were able to run both a Core Duo and a Core 2 Duo chip through CNET Labs' suite of performance benchmarks to see if the new processors lived up to Intel's claims. To be sure the platforms were identical, we tested both chips in the same Intel-provided whitebook; the comparison isn't strictly apples-to-apples, though, because we tested a top-of-the-line 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor against a slightly slower 2.16GHz Core Duo processor. Nevertheless, the Core 2 Duo chip ran 27 percent faster than the Core Duo chip on our iTunes encoding test, which almost exclusively measures a laptop's CPU capabilities. The other subsystems--chipset, memory, hard drive--play a larger role in our new multitasking and Photoshop tests; the Core 2 Duo laptop ran between 13 percent and 14 percent faster on those two tests than the Core Duo reference system, respectively.

    Application tests
    (Shorter bars indicate better performance)
    Multitasking test
    iTunes test
    Photoshop CS2 test
    Intel Core Duo
    Intel Core 2 Duo
    Note: In seconds

    Games tests
    (Longer bars indicate better performance)
    Quake 4
    Intel Core Duo
    Intel Core 2 Duo
    Note: In frames per second

    BAPCo MobileMark2005 performance rating
    (Longer bars indicate better performance)
    Intel Core Duo
    Intel Core 2 Duo
    Note: In mobile marks

    BAPCo MobileMark2005 battery life minutes
    (Longer bars indicate better performance)
    Intel Core Duo
    Intel Core 2 Duo
    Note: In minutes

    System configurations:

    Intel Core Duo
    Windows XP Media Center; 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo T2600; 1GB DDR2 SDRAM PC5300 666MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 512MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 100GB 7,200rpm

    Intel Core 2 Duo
    Windows XP Media Center; 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7600; 1GB DDR2 SDRAM PC5300 666MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 512MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 100GB 7,200rpm

    In short, initial results from CNET Labs indicate that Core 2 Duo chips are showing some modest improvements over previous-generation Intel processors, but so far it's not looking to be a dominant victory. Battery life remained essentially unchanged, which is more or less what Intel promised one month ago.

    We are working to get our hands on the four other members of Intel's Core 2 Duo line of laptop processors, and we'll report back as soon as we've put them through the paces. Meanwhile, CNET is kicking off our mobile Core 2 Duo coverage with reviews of the Dell XPS M1710 and Gateway M255E; reviews of systems from Alienware and bargain manufacturer PC Club, as well as other vendors, will post throughout the week. Keep an eye on our Core 2 Duo page for the latest about the new processor from CNET News and Reviews.