updated 11:50 am EST, Thu December 22, 2005
\"Yonah\" specs, performance
Intel plans to introduce two versions of its , which could find their way into Macs early next year: a single core version running at 1.66GHz and dual-core versions clocked at 1.66GHz, 1.83GHz, 2.0GHz, and 2.16GHz. The company will reportedly market the chips as Centrino "Solo Core" and "Duo Core" processors. The new chips are expected to power the next generation of Apple laptops and consumer desktops, offering a 667Mhz front-side-bus (FSB) and 2MB of level 2 cache. A speedier version of the chip is expected by mid-2006, and will reportedly increase Yonah's top speed to 2.3GHz.
Yonah will offer several improvements over Intel's previous generation Pentium M chips based on the Dothan core, the most obvious being its dual-core. Yonah is based on Intel's new 65nm process, which allows the company to manufacture a dual-core Yonah die roughly the same size as a single core Dothan die. This allows Intel to manufacture a dual-core Yonah at approximately the same cost as a single-core Dothan, according to AppleInsider.
An Intel Yonah roadmap which surfaced in September suggests that the company plans to charge approximately $209 for each single-core 1.66Ghz Yonah chip. Dual-core versions will reportedly cost $241 (1.66Ghz), $295 (1.83Ghz), $422 (2.0Ghz), and $639 (2.16Ghz) per unit.
AnandTech performed a recent series of business-oriented and multimedia benchmark tests that compared a pre-production dual-core 2.0Ghz Yonah processor to a 2.0Ghz Dothan-based Pentium M 760, as well as three AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors ranging in speeds from 2.0Ghz to 2.2Ghz. Yonah failed to display superior results in the business applications test, primarily because applications such as Microsoft Word and Outlook Express do not take on a heavily multithreaded workload, which dual-core chips are designed to optimize.
"Intel has increased the L2 cache latency by 40 percent, and thus it is outperformed by the older, single core Pentium M processor despite the fact that they run at the same clock speed," AnandTech said.
In a Winstone 2004 multimedia content creation test, however, Yonah performed better than the Pentium M with a score of 34.7 compared to the Pentium M's 28.3. The chip's enhancements helped Yonah rank second amongst the five chips in an Office Productivity SYSMark 2004 test, and third in a SYSMark 2004 2D and 3D test. In both tests, Yonah showed significant speed gains over the Pentium M chip.
A final series of overall system performance tests using WorldBench 5, the 2Ghz Yonah topped the list, barely beating AMD's 2.2Ghz Athlon 64 X2 processor. Yonah also scored high in iTunes MP3 encoding, DVD ripping, 3dmax, Adobe Photoshop CS, and Adobe Premier benchmark tests. The chip performed better than the Pentium M in gaming performance when tested with Battlefield 2, Black and White 2, F.E.A.R., Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and Quake 4.
"Our initial analysis still holds true, that for a notebook processor, [Yonah] will be nothing short of amazing for professionals. Looking at the performance improvements offered everywhere from media encoding to 3D rendering, you're going to be able to do a lot more on your notebook than you originally thought possible (without resorting to a 12-pound desktop replacement)," AnandTech wrote. "The one thing that Intel's [Yonah] seems to be able to do very well is to truly bridge the gap between mobile and desktop performance, at least in thin and light packages."
Apple hopes to be one of the first PC makers to introduce systems using Intel's Yonah when it debuts the first Intel Macs, which is expected to occur at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco during the second week of January.
NEC this week revealed details of its first Yonah laptops, but didn't get into specifics about the Yonah processors that will power its machines. Dell in February is expected to reveal a host of new laptops based on Yonah as well, including a full range of Precision M90, Lattitude D620 and Lattitude D820 models.
Intel is expected to formally unveil Yonah along with its "Viiv" media center technology during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which begins Jaunary 5th, a few days before Apple chief executive Steve Jobs will appear before a Macworld Expo crowd to introduce the company's latest consumer products.