Now that theyíve got the Core 2 launch solidly in their rear view mirror, itís now time for Intel to trickle that technology down into other markets. With the introduction of the Core 2 Extreme and quad-core, Intelís got a solid foothold in the high-end segment, while the Core 2 Duo E6300, E6400, and E6600 are the CPU of choice for enthusiasts in the mainstream markets. But despite this success, Intel continues to lose market share to archrival AMD. According to the latest numbers from Mercury Research, AMD took home 25.3% of the desktop PC market; this is the highest share in the companyís history.
In order for Intel to get some of that share back, theyíve got to enhance the lower end of their CPU lineup. As everyone knows, the volume is in the value and lower-end mainstream segments, these are the sub-$200 CPUs Intelís Core 2 line largely doesnít cover: up to now, Intel only had one Core 2 CPU in this segment, the E6300. The rest of Intelís sub-$200 CPU lineup is dominated by the Pentium family, many of which ship with large 4MB L2 caches, making these CPUs costly to manufacture.
Intel realizes this though, and thatís why for 2007 much of Intelís focus is going to be on finally phasing out the Netburst architecture used in the Pentium 4/D and Celeron.
Core 2 Duo E4300 box
Our CPU was packed less than one month ago
This year will mark the transition point where Intel ships more Core 2 than Pentium CPUs. In order to accomplish this goal however, Intelís got to make Core 2 cheaper to produce, and ultimately release even cheaper, less expensive Core 2 variants for the low-end mainstream and value markets that the Pentium and Celeron lines currently compete in.
How does Intel plan to make this happen? By subtracting features.
That means less L2 cache (after all, over half of Conroeís die consists of L2 cache), and other performance-enhancing features that take up valuable transistors such as virtualization.
Core 2 Duo E4300 chip
The first CPU that is built with this in mind is Intelís Core 2 Duo E4300, which is built around Intelís ďAllendaleĒ core. Allendale has half the cache as Conroe, 2MB versus 4MB, but thatís not the only feature that separates Allendale from Conroe. Letís take a closer look at the Core 2 Duo E4300Ö