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Intel Penryn architecture

We've put Intel's first 45nm processor in the test bench to see what the new Yorkfield core brings in terms of performance and overclocking potential. Extreme is the word...

Time really flies. Two years ago Intel launched its first 65nm desktop processor. 3.46GHz was the frequency and the power consumption was astonishingly high. Six months later, the Core architecture was uncovered, also made with 65nm technology. Core made a sharp U-turn when it came to power consumption and Intel showed the sceptics that it had complete control of the 65nm process. Now it had managed to gain an advantage both when it comes to power consumption and performance. This is the evolution of the products so far and now it's time for the next step on the processor market, namely down-scaling of the process technology to 45nm. It's basically the same Core architecture, but smaller and with a couple of adjustments and improvements. These changes have been gathered under the code-name Penryn.

One of the most significant changes to the hardware is that the amount of cache has increased. Our previous reviews of models of the 65nm Core family have shown that this has a significant affect on performance. The logic has been expanded with a number of new instructions known as SSE4, where most of them are for hardware accelerating the compression of both audio and video. Thanks to the new 45nm process, the power leakage has been severely reduced, and we now have a much cooler and more efficient processor. But what does a refining of the process really mean? How much performance does the increased cache really bring? During which scenarios do the extra instructions help the end-user? Penryn, Wolfdale, Yorkfield and the rest of the code-names, what do they mean? These questions and a lot more, will be answered in this technical article about Intel's latest revision of the Core architecture.

We start from the top and investigate a number of code-names.

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