It's pretty clear that Intel's Core 2 Duo is the proverbial "King of the Hill" performance-wise for the moment, but who says you can't add to it? Clearly not Intel, which has refined its roadmap for the end of 2007 by adding two new processors
to the list.
First, we'll hit the un
-exciting part. Intel has added an E4600 to the list, bumping up the Allendale line to a feisty 2.4GHz. The chip will remain on an 800MHz Front Side Bus, so we're mostly seeing the culmination of processing refinement. Now that things are in full swing and processing methods have matured, the Allendale core has been able to get a bit of a speed bump by increasing the multiplier. However, that is the only change from other members of the E4000 series.
What has been grabbing peoples' attention, however, is the new "Yorkfield" core. Yorkfield is the follow-up to Kentsfield, and will be the new base of Intel's "Extreme" lineup. The new chip will sport the same 1333MHz FSB that the Kentsfield-based Extreme processors already do, with two major changes - the chip will be made on a 45nm process and will have 12MB of L2 cache.
The die shrink will come with the usual benefits of reduced temperatures and increased efficiency, but it is losing something in the process. Intel has scrapped its TXT technology in the Yorkfield redesign, which was meant to encrypt all running processes. The concept of hardware-level encryption would mean viruses could have a harder time inserting themselves into proper parts of already running threads.
Whether this loss will truly be a detriment to the system is unknown, as the technology is so new as to not really have illustrated whether it has any effect in the first place. Intel doesn't really explain why the TXT technology didn't
make it into the new cores -- it could be anything from having problems incorporating it with the die shrink to the realisation that the cost vs. benefit was just not there. Of course, one has to wonder if there really is a need for Intel to be inserting itself into the security field to begin with, so maybe the drop-off is best for everyone involved.
Have you got a thought on the new processors? How about the quiet drop-off of TXT technology? Tell us your thoughts in our forums