Inside Apple's new Core 2 Duo chip

Inside Apple's new Core 2 Duo chip

Summary: Apple released a significant update to the MacBook Pro yesterday adding a new Core 2 Duo T-series processor to the mix. Let's take a look at what's changed.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Intel Core 2 Duo T7600Apple released a significant update to the MacBook Pro yesterday adding a new Core 2 Duo T-series processor to the mix. Let's take a look at what's changed.

Core 2 Duo Microprocessor
Apple has upgraded the MacBook Pro to the latest Intel silicon and the Core 2 Duo chip features a 64-bit architecture. Unfortunately, Mac OS 10.4 is only a 32-bit OS. The good news is that Apple has promised that Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) and most of their software will be 64-bit aware by the time Leopard is released in the Spring of 2007.

The other significant bump in the Core 2 Duo processor is that it ships with 4MB of Level 2 cache, double the L2 cache in the previous MacBook Pro. That alone should add a noticeable performance jump in the new MacBook Pro.

Apple has floated a pretty impressive performance statistic of the new MBP stating that it is "39 percent faster than the previous generation." If you read the footnote you'll notice that this figure is based on "estimated results of industry-standard SPECint and SPECfp rate tests." You should also note that the 39 percent improvement in performance quoted is between the new 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo and the previous generation 2.16GHz Core Duo processor. The extra 170MHz will also add a slight performance boost to the new model.

Others have taken issue with the 39 percent faster metric.

One Digg commenter "Streak" notes:

Code that is simply recompiled for the 64-bit instruction set can easily execute 30% faster, compared to the same code compiled for the old 32-bit instruction set and executed on the same processor. Even Jobs went over this in his WWDC '06 keynote.

Another commenter "rtini" notes:

The performance increases for people using well-written multithreaded applications are much better than for running typical single-threaded stuff. Basically all of Apple's software is well-written multithread applications, so it benefits really well from Core 2 Duo's improvements.

Each core is running at least 6% faster than with the Core Duo from the 4MB L2 cache alone. The floating-point performance is better too, so applications using floating point will see a bit more improvement. There are new SSE instructions for vector processing, so audio/video processing software can get performance gains from that - if the software is designed to take advantage of the new SSE instructions. Add to all of that the new 64bit capability, and you have the potential for big performance gains.

So there you have it, the Core 2 Duo (T7600) is definitely a nice upgrade for MacBook Pro buyers, but it probably isn't enough to sell your 10-month old Core Duo (T2600) to get. Once Apple releases their first, true 64-bit OS (Mac OS 10.5) then everything will change again.

Full Core 2 Duo benchmarks can be found at TG Daily.

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Topic: Apple

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14 comments
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  • Message has been deleted.

    ahinkle
    • Please don't SPAM the TalkBack

      ahinkle-

      Please don't post SPAM affiliate URLs in your comments.

      The URL adds nothing to the discussion and is merely an attempt to game ZDNet to increase the Page Rank of your affiliate page.

      I have reported your comment to the moderator and encourage all readers to report bogus "Revver.com" URLs in comments as they seem to be getting more frequent.

      If you're a legitimate commenter (as opposed to a robot) I'd love to hear your side of the story.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • Core 2 Duo and 64-bit architecture

    But will the new MB Pros run OS 10.5 in 32-bit mode or 64-bit
    mode. It's my understanding that 64-bit mode will require the
    Santa Rosa chipset, scheduled for release April 2007.

    Perhaps the *next* revision of the MB Pro will be truly 64-bit
    capable.
    bukweet
  • Missing piece

    This upgraded CPU certainly meets the expectations that Apple is a top tier vendor. The extra firewire access and potential RAM increase makes this more usable as well.

    But I have to wonder with all the deals Apple has for using flash memory in the iPods, why they did not take the next step and put in say a 2-3 gig RAM flash chip? I realize they are selling a bunch of iPods that impact the usage of a limited supply, but Tiger/Leopard on a flash chip would obliterate the competition for users and add to the ease of use (instant boot!). Since Apple has the commanding relationship in the flash market place with Samsung- this would seem to be a dead easy choice to make.

    Still a great machine, and a 15in 2.33 would just barely fit in the stocking this year <grin>.
    Jim888
    • Apple needs a flash notebook

      I couldn't agree with you more "MacCrazy"...
      Apple need a flash notebook for longer battery life and lighter weight.

      While it won't happen immediately, I've heard that Apple is already experimenting with hybrid notebooks that will boot from a smaller flash partition then use the HDD for storage and apps.

      Can't wait!
      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Flash Performance

        I think that flash RAM is generally lower performance than rotating magnetic storage (hard drive) and it takes a beating on writes, which are typically heavy on a system boot volume.
        CTSTechs.com
  • wth, OS X Tiger not 64 bits, LMAO

    Please get your information straight, Apple OS was the first to
    use 64 bits computing on G5's YEARS ago.

    Please read the Mac OS X Tiger list of specifications at:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/techspecs/

    OS X Tiger 64 bits link is:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/64bit/

    Geez, what kind of review is that one.
    plokoonpma
  • wth, OS X Tiger not 64 bits, LMAO

    Please get your information straight, Apple OS was the first to
    use 64 bits computing on G5's YEARS ago.

    Please read the Mac OS X Tiger list of specifications at:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/techspecs/

    OS X Tiger 64 bits link is:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/64bit/

    Geez, what kind of review is that one.

    BTW, all Apple software is designed for 64 bits computing
    performance.
    plokoonpma
    • hardly the first 64 bit OS

      OS X is a fine OS -- I use it -- but it's not true that Apple was "first to use 64 bits computing." I'm not really sure who was first, but I am sure that as early as 1995 I was using a genuine 64 bit OS on a 64-bit chip -- OpenVMS on a DEC Alphaserver tower.

      And by '97 I had one of those machines ON MY DESK. So for example when Apple claimed that the G5 was the "first 64 bits on the desktop," that was flat out wrong.
      alpha_server
      • Never said that it was

        Your quote above is not from me...

        If you read my article you'll see that I said:

        "Once Apple releases their first, true 64-bit OS (Mac OS 10.5) then everything will change again."

        - Jason
        Jason D. O'Grady
        • i know you didn't

          my comment was directed towards the message I replied to -- not to your article, which of course I read.

          I thought that was clear that I was defending you against the accusation that you'd gotten your history wrong. In fact the poster had gotten his history wrong. Not you.
          alpha_server
  • 10.4 DOES support 64-bit apps

    Tiger supports 64-bit apps:
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/64bit/

    Leopard is IMPROVING support for 64-bit apps by converting many core libraries over to full 64-bit support as well.
    nevir
  • RE: Inside Apple's new Core 2 Duo chip

    Please get your information straight, Apple OS was the first to
    use 64 bits computing on G5's YEARS ago.Awesome!
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