Intel Core 2 Duo / Quad / Extreme processor families

The latest generation of Intel x86-compatible processor, Core 2 Duo microprocessor family, was introduced on July 27, 2006. The Core 2 Duo processors include two cores, each core having 32 KB L1 data and 32 KB L1 code caches, and both cores having shared 2 or 4 MB L2 cache. The Core 2 Duo CPUs run at lower frequency than Pentium 4 processors, but they offer excellent performance due to more efficient architecture:
  • Each processor's core can execute up to 4 instructions per cycle.
  • Shared L2 cache allows the same copy of data to be used by both cores. Another advantage of shared L2 cache is that more heavily loaded core can use bigger portion of L2 cache - up to the full size of the cache.
  • 128-bit SSE instructions can be executed at sustained rate of one 128-bit instruction per cycle.

Core 2 Duo architecture includes other performance enhancing features. One of these features is a "macrofusion". This feature allows the processor to load and execute common instruction pairs as one instruction.

Overall, despite of lower processor frequency, the performance of Core 2 Duo family is much higher than the performance of Pentium 4. Lower processor speed of Core 2 Duo and Extreme processors also translates into lower power consumption. Core 2 Duo E6600 and E6700 processors have thermal design power 65 Watt (75 Watt for Core 2 Extreme x6800), while less efficient Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73 GHz has thermal design power of 115 Watt.

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List of Core_2 families

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 HH80557PH0462M (BX80557E6400)

Core 2 Duo was the first family of desktop-class microprocessors based on Core microarchitecture. While the first Core 2 Duo processors had much lower core frequency and approximately the same FSB frequency and level 2 cache size as Pentium D microprocessors, they had better performance than the fastest Pentium D 960 due to much more efficient microarchitecture. The only exception to this were the slowest (less than 2 GHz) Core 2 Duo CPUs, that could perform slightly worse in some benchmarks. Newer dual-core CPUs have such improvements as higher core and FSB frequency, larger level 2 cache size, and lower power consumption. All Core 2 Duo processors use the same socket 775 package as many Pentium 4 and all Pentium D microprocessors, and can work in a number of Pentium 4 and Pentium D motherboards.

Picture of: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 HH80557PH0462M (BX80557E6400)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 HH80562PH0568M (BX80562Q6600)
Author: PitBul

Core 2 Quad microprocessors are essentially two Core 2 Duo CPUs in one package - two cores are located on one die, two other cores are on another die, and both dies are packaged together. This explains why the level 2 cache on these processors is shared only between two cores. Obviously, these CPUs have higher (about 50% higher) Thermal Design Power than dual-core microprocessors running at the same frequency. The quad-core CPUs have the same performance as the Core 2 Duo processors in single-threaded applications, and are faster or considerably faster in multi-threaded applications. Performance difference in games between quad- and dual-core microprocessors is highly dependent on the game, and varies from no difference at all to 20% performance advantage for quad-core CPUs. The quad-core processors are packaged in socket 775 package, and work in the same motherboards as the Core 2 Duo CPUs.

Picture of: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 HH80562PH0568M (BX80562Q6600)

Core 2 Extreme is a brand name for the best-performing desktop Core 2 microprocessors. These processors were always faster than other Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs released at the same time. No only Extreme processors had higher core frequency, they also had unlocked clocked multiplier which allowed their owners to increase their frequency above nominal (overclock them). A few Extreme processors had other features that increased their performance even further: higher bus frequency, twice as many cores, and/or large level 2 cache. Being faster than any other Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad on the market, these CPUs were almost twice more expansive than the most expensive Core 2 Duo / Quad microprocessor. The Core 2 Extreme processors were packaged in 775-land package and worked in the same motherboards as Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs.

Core 2 Solo is a family of low-power microprocessors based on Core microarchitecture. As the name suggests, these processors have only one core. Like other mobile Core 2 families, the Core 2 Solo CPUs have additional low-power modes along with Dynamic Acceleration technology (it can temporarily boosts core frequency above nominal frequency). Solo processors have much lower Thermal Design Power than Core 2 Duo mobile microprocessors - 5.5 Watt versus 25 or 35 Watt. All Core 2 Solo CPUs are packaged into Ball Grid Array package - they are always soldered on the motherboard, and can be removed or replaced only with the help of special equipment.
Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T7200 LE80537GF0414M

2 GHz
4MB L2 cache
667 MHz FSB
479-ball micro-FCBGA

Picture of: Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T7200 LE80537GF0414M

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At a glance

64-bit microprocessor
Technology (micron):
0.045, 0.065
The number of cores:
1 - 4
Frequency (GHz):
1.06 - 3.33
L2 cache size (MB):
1 - 12