Intel® Virtualization Technology requires a computer system with an enabled Intel® processor, BIOS, virtual machine monitor (VMM) and for some uses, certain platform software enabled for it. Functionality, performance or other benefits will vary depending on hardware and software configurations. Intel Virtualization Technology-enabled BIOS and VMM applications are currently in development.

† Hyper-Threading Technology (HT Technology) requires a computer system with an Intel® Processor supporting HT Technology and an HT Technology enabled chipset, BIOS, and operating system. Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software you use.
Φ 64-bit Intel® Xeon® processors with Intel® EM64T requires a computer system with a processor, chipset, BIOS, OS, device drivers and applications enabled for Intel EM64T. Processor will not operate (including 32-bit operation) without an Intel EM64T-enabled BIOS. Performance will vary depending on your hardware and software configurations. Intel EM64T-enabled OS, BIOS, device drivers and applications may not be available. Check with your vendor for more information.

° Enabling Execute Disable Bit functionality requires a PC with a processor with Execute Disable Bit capability and a supporting operating system. Check with your PC manufacturer on whether your system delivers Execute Disable Bit functionality.


For the past few years, Intel's desktop processors have been playing second fiddle to AMD's Athlon 64 in a number of ways. Both single and dual-core variants of the Athlon 64 have been at the top of most benchmark charts essentially since their introduction, and AMD's processors have been more energy efficient as well.  Conversely, since the introduction of the Prescott core, Intel's processors have earned a somewhat notorious reputation for running hot and consuming more than their fare share of power.

This scenario has played out since September of 2003, when AMD first released the Athlon 64 FX-51. But it all ends today. A while back Intel announced that they would be abandoning the Netburst microarchitecture, on which all of their current Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors are based, in favor of a new microarchitecture that incorporated the best of Netburst but borrowed heavily from their low-power, high-performance Pentium-M.

The Core microarchitecture as it is now known will be the basis for a whole line of mobile (Merom), desktop (Conroe), and server (Woodcrest) processors.  Over the last few months, we've posted some information and performance data regarding Conroe, but up until now we haven't been able to fully evaluate one of these processors ourselves in our own labs.  Today we're going to serve up a detailed look at Conroe and hopefully explain how Intel reclaimed the performance crown from their rivals.

2.66GHz / 2.93GHz Dual Core Processors
1066MHz "Quad-Pumped" front side bus
.065-micron manufacturing process
Shared Smart Cache Technology
4MB on-chip, full-speed L2 cache - Shared across each core
Intel EM64T Extensions - 64-bit computing
Execute Disable Bit - For enhanced security
Streaming SIMD Extensions - SSE2, SSE3
Supported by the Intel 975X Express and 965 chipsets
LGA775 Packaging - Land Grid Array

Die Size: Approximately 143mm2
Approximately 291M Transistors