Saturday, September 16, 2006

Finally I will have Core 2 Duo

After waiting for a long time (from July 27th, till September 12th), I finally ordered a Dell E1705 with Core 2 Duo Merom processor (not to be confused with the older Core Duo Yonah processor)! It is such a happy feeling, to finally be able to use a dual core processor.

Configuration
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor running at 2.00 GHz, 4 MB Cache, 667 MHz FSB
  • 17" XGA+ (I will swap this display with my UXGA display from my Dell 9300)
  • 1 GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667 MHz
  • 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS
  • 80 GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive
  • Rest of the usual stuff like CD/DVD, wireless, network card etc.
I ordered an XGA+ display because as soon as the laptop arrives I will exchange the UXGA from my Dell 9300 which the E1705 will replace ;-). I called Dell technical support to make sure that they can be swapped and the result was a positive reply. I have to live with the slower NVIDIA 7900 GS since the GTX card was not available for E1705. Other than that I am very happy with the configuration. I could not resist the temptation of buying another laptop. Initially I contemplated on waiting till the Santa Rosa platform is released, with its 800 MHz FSB, but I could not wait!

Once I receive the shipment I will post some pictures and benchmark reports (stock and overclocked of course). I heard a lot of good things about Core 2 Duo when compared to Core Duo. Many people get confused between the two processors. But Core 2 Duo is supposedly 20% faster than Core Duo running at the same clock frequency. But to me the important jump from Core Duo is the 64-bit technology. Core Duo is 32 bit processor and Core 2 Duo is 64 bit. Also VanderPool was missing from some of the Core Duo processors. But all Core 2 Duo processors have it. With higher FSB and several new features I would definetly expect Core 2 Duo to beat Core Duo. However my benchmarks will compare Pentium-M 2.00 GHz / 533 MHz FSB with Core 2 Duo 2.00 GHz / 667 MHZ FSB.

Anyway right after the benchmarks I will do what I usually do to all my laptops, format and reinstall Win XP, and install Gentoo. But this time I have some more plans. Thanks to the Virtualization Technology (VT, previously code named VanderPool) in Merom, I can run unmodified Windows from inside Linux. So the plan is to install Gentoo, Xgl and Xen. I can play windows games from Linux and since Xgl gives eye-candy like MacOSX, I can ask for nothing more. I think it will be quite an adventure to make use of NVIDIA acceleration in Windows using VT. But let's see. My Dell 9300 laptop will then become my Freevo media center and my older Dell 5160 which is currently the media center will become part of a cluster.

Intel's Core 2 Duo website shows the addition of the following features:
  • Intel® Wide Dynamic Execution, enabling delivery of more instructions per clock cycle to improve execution time and energy efficiency
  • Intel® Intelligent Power Capability, designed to deliver more energy-efficient performance and smarter battery performance in your laptop
  • Intel® Smart Memory Access, improving system performance by optimizing the use of the available data bandwidth
  • Intel® Advanced Smart Cache, providing a higher-performance, more efficient cache subsystem. Optimized for multi-core and dual-core processors
  • Intel® Advanced Digital Media Boost, accelerating a broad range of applications, including video, speech and image, photo processing, encryption, financial, engineering and scientific applications
Netburst is dead, and long live Core!

More soon...

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