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Notebooks embrace the Core 2 Duo

The third installment of Intel's Core trilogy is out for notebooks, offering more performance, power efficiency.

Notebook users will get their first crack at Intel's new Core 2 Duo chip starting Monday, as the chipmaker unveils the final installment of its architectural shift.

Dell, Gateway, Toshiba and others trotted out their first systems based on the notebook version of the chip, formerly code-named Merom. Merom systems were previewed at Intel's Core 2 Duo launch event in July, but systems are now available for order from PC companies.

"This is the closing of the circle, of Intel moving in the client space to the Core architecture," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile platforms group.

Intel has junked its older Netburst architecture chips for desktops and servers in favor of the more powerful yet power-efficient Core architecture inspired by previous notebook processors such as the Pentium M and the Core Duo.

The mobile version of the Core 2 Duo shares the same product name as its desktop counterpart, but the individual chips will have different model number schemes. The new notebook chips fall into a 5xxx or 7xxx model number range, with 7000-series processors offering more performance. The desktop chips use model numbers in the 4xxx and 6xxx range. The letter before the four-digit model number signifies how much power the chip consumes; mobile chips like the T7600 fall in a range of 25 watts to 41 watts of power consumed. The T7600 consumes 34 watts, a little more than the 31 watts consumed by the Core Duo.

Intel now expects 95 percent of the processors it ships in performance notebooks to have two cores by the end of the year, Eden said. The new chips plug into motherboards designed for the Core Duo.

Intel plans to upgrade its notebook technology next spring with Santa Rosa, which will increase the speed of the processor's front-side bus, the main link between the chip and a PC's memory, Eden said. Intel plans to talk more about Santa Rosa at next month's Intel Developer Forum.