New Details on Intel's Dual-Core Mobile Chip
Intel shed a little more light on its forthcoming dual-core mobile chip today in a briefing with reporters, confirming that the Yonah processor's two cores will share a single bank of cache memory
Yonah is the code name for the dual-core version of Intel's Pentium M processor for notebooks and miniature desktops, scheduled for release in the first quarter of next year. Unlike Intel's first dual-core designs for desktop PCs, Yonah is a much more integrated design that shares storage and power management resources within the chip, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile platforms group.
The just-released dual-core Pentium D processor uses separate 1M-byte cache memory banks dedicated to each core. In the Yonah processor, a single 2M-byte cache memory bank is available to both cores, reducing the chance that data will have to leave the chip to be temporarily stored in a system's main memory bank, Eden said.
What's the Cache?
Cache memory is used to store frequently accessed bits of data in a repository close to the CPU (central processing unit). Data stored in cache memory can be accessed much faster than data stored in a PC's memory, because the CPU doesn't have to exit the processor to find that data.
As a result, the battery life of notebooks with the Yonah and the rest of the Napa platform should exceed that of the current generation of Intel's Centrino technology, Eden said. Napa is the code name for the combination of Yonah, a new mobile chipset, and a new wireless chip that makes up the Centrino brand.
Intel plans to aggressively introduce dual-core processors over the next year. The company was forced to accelerate its dual-core processors after realizing that it could no longer wring any more performance out of single-core Pentium 4 chips without melting motherboards. Processor analysts and chip enthusiasts have turned their noses up at Intel's initial Pentium D design, labeling it inelegant compared to AMD's dual-core chips.
The difference between the dual-core Pentium D processor and Yonah is also quite stark, Eden said in response to a reporter's question.
"You are asking me what is the difference between a microprocessor and a donkey," he said.