The second coming of Intel's Core Duo

The Core Duo has begat the Core 2 Duo, just as the Pentium brand name climbed the charts all the way to Pentium 4.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
2 min read
Coming soon to a PC store near you: Core Duo, the sequel.

Intel has decided to borrow the sequential naming scheme it used for its famous Pentium brand and apply it to the new Core line of chips, the company is expected to announce Sunday. Earlier this year, Intel released the Core Duo processor, and in a few months it will unveil Core 2 Duo processors. The Core 2 Duo name will be used for desktop chips based on the Conroe chip, as well as for notebook chips based on the Merom chip. Merom processors consume less power than Conroe chips, but they're otherwise very similar.

Intel logo
Intel's new Core 2 Duo brand for
its Conroe and Merom processors
borrows from the Pentium
branding legacy, as it will be
the second Core Duo product.

Each Core 2 Duo chip will also have a model number that will indicate how much power it consumes and its relative performance, said Intel spokesman Bill Kircos. The Conroe processors will fall into either the 4000 series or 6000 series, while Merom processors will use either the 5000 series or 7000 series numbers, he said.

Conveniently, the Conroe numbers match up well with the model numbers used by Advanced Micro Devices on its current generation of dual-core Athlon 64 X2 desktop processors. AMD's highest-rated Athlon 64 X2 processor as of Friday is the X2 4800+. Kircos declined to comment on whether Intel chose the new scheme to line up with AMD's model numbers.

Each one of Intel's model numbers will be preceded by a letter that indicates how much power the chip consumes at its peak. This is the first time Intel has incorporated power consumption into its model numbers. For example, the Core 2 Duo E6800 processor would represent a dual-core Core-architecture processor that consumes between 55 watts and 75 watts of power, which Intel considers the standard desktop PC category. The hypothetical Core 2 Duo T5400 would represent a dual-core Core chip that consumes between 25 watts and 55 watts of power, a range Intel thinks is appropriate for most notebooks and some desktops.

Over the last year Intel has put increasing emphasis on its platform brands, such as Centrino for notebooks, Viiv for entertainment PCs and vPro for business PCs. But the company will continue to emphasize the individual processor brands, Kircos said. "I think you'll see equal amounts of marketing around the processor and platform brands," he said.

The end appears nigh for the Pentium brand, which has carried Intel for 13 years. Intel is expected to rapidly shift its factories to cranking out Core processors by the end of the year.

Last week, Intel announced plans to bring out the Conroe and Merom chips in July and August, respectively, which is earlier than expected.