INTEL's last hope: marketing
The Centrino team at Israel are hyping up their 32 bit Core Duo and 32 bit Merom technology like crazy. You feel a sense of desperation, even the usually soft speaking Nathan Brookwood of Insight 64 said "[o]nly a psychoanalyst would be fully qualified to analyse Intel's behaviour".
First let's analyse the hype on Core Duo, a 32 bit mobile processor with 2 Pentium M cores.
INTEL's Corporate VP of the Mobility Group Mooly Eden had a presentation on Core Duo which I reported here. According to his presentation slides at here, Core Duo had the following selling points:
- Revolutionary processor
- 70% performance increase
- Over 28% longer battery life
What's revolutionary about the 32 bit Core Duo? According to Mooly Eden, there were two technologies, Dynamic Intel Smart Cache Sizeing and Enhanced Intel(R) Deeper Sleep. Frankly, I don't see anything revolutionary here, these two can be best described as minor improvements, Core Duo is pretty much two Pentium M cores glued together and put on a shared front side bus. After so many years, the Israeli amateurs have not figured out how to do 64 bits and Mooly Eden's excuse was that "It may take many years for enterprises to demand it (64 bit)".
What about so called 70% performance increase? Let's look at an independent benchmark done by AnandTech. As we can see, the 2GHZ 2MB cache Core Duo is generally slower than AMD's lowest Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (2GHZ, 1MB cache). The X2 3800+ is 20% faster than Core Duo in DivX encoding, X2 3800+ is 17% faster than Core Duo in Windows Media Encoding, 11% faster in playing Battlefield 2. Overall, the X2 3800+ won 16 benchmarks, the Core Duo won 6. In tests the Core Duo did win, the margin of victory is always less than a few percent. Keeping in mind that the 2GHZ Core Duo is INTEL's top of line and the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ is AMD's lowest entry level, you see although Core Duo represented a quantum leap from Pentium 4 D, its performance is still far below AMD64.
What about the so called "28% longer battery life"? Again, it's hype with no factual foundation. According to this Tomshardware test, Core Duo consumes more than twice the power of a Pentium M or Turion when doing low load work such as reading and office work. According to INTEL's design data sheet, Core Duo has an estimated Thermal Design Power of 67 watts, which is consistent with my estimate that Core Duo is at least 53 watts based on an AnandTech measurement of system power. In comparison, the Opteron 870HE is only 55 watts max. No wonder DELL is only making 17inch, 8 pound desktop replacement notebooks with Core Duo.
So, we fully analysed INTEL Israel's hypish marketing on all three aspects. Core Duo is no revolutionary chip, is just a modification of Pentium III; Core Duo is not 70% faster, but 10-20% slower than AMD's lowest entry level Athlon 64 X2 3800+; Core Duo does not run cooler, but runs hotter than Opteron 875HE server chip (2.2GHZ, dual core, 8 way SMP).
I am impressed by Israeli's ability to hype, but I am equally unimpressed by their ability to deliver.
Now, what about the "revolutionary" NGMA called Merom designed by the same Israeli team? Again, from the all hype no beef messages, I don't see anything revolutionary there for the so called NGMA. The only new feature we know is the so called 4-issue core. However, the PowerPC 970 has a 4-issue core, yet Steve Jobs was not impressed. Can INTEL Israel do better than IBM? I seriously doubt it.
When Mooly Eden went back to Israel to talk to some of his old collegues, they told him: 'You're only one year in marketing, and already you're brain-damaged."'