Turion 64 X2 benchmarks

Tom’s Hardware does the legwork. They conclude:

Though AMD has not landed a great coup with the Turion 64 X2, the first 64 bit CPU with two execution units for laptops, the engineers in Dresden and Sunnyvale deserve commendation. They have succeeded in developing a laptop CPU that provides considerably more performance than its single-core predecessor Turion 64, but whose power consumption is the same or only slightly higher.

However, compared to an Intel platform based on the Core Duo and the company’s own GM 945 chipset, the combination of AMD CPU and ATI chipset is inferior in terms of battery time and multitasking performance. Therefore, under equal conditions, it can only be regarded as the second choice – if it is worth getting at all. The Core Duo 2, Intel’s next generation of laptop processors is already at hand, and first measurements show that the Core Duo 2 is even more powerful while not consuming more power.

This is not to say that buying a Turion laptop is a mistake; after all, the laptop decision rests on a number of other axes, including price, features, weight, etc. There is a lot of room for innovation and the CPU performance is not the sole metric by which consumers make their choices. The Turion looks to be a decent chip at a reasonable price, and its presence in the market is a positive thing overall. With Dell already selling AMD desktops and soon to follow with its notebook lines, the new Turion simply means more choice.

Still, it will be fun to see Sharikou‘s reaction to these benchmarks 🙂 He hasn’t posted yet…

Intel is dooooomed

Blogger “Sharikou” is pretty obviously an AMD partisan. He wears his heart on his sleeve. That said, his blog, Journal of Pervasive 64-bit computing, is a solid resource for AMD-Intel horseracing, with an emphasis on the future that is 64-bit.

For example, he notes that Intel’s aggressive price-cutting has really put the squeeze on Dell. Low prices on Intel CPUs eat away at Dell’s volume-discount price advantage over its competitors, and lower PC prices overall – bad news given that Dell has always operated on razor-thin margins. If Dell goes to AMD, it will be a massive blow to Intel, but the price pressures on Intel from AMD are inexorable.

He also posts some initial benchmarks between Intel’s latest Conroe chip with the AMD Athlon FX62, and points out that despite the dual-core hype behind Conroe, the performance lags way behind Intel’s claims. Conroe isn’t even formally launched yet and the Athlons have been out for some time, so AMD has a head start and will probably maintain the price/performance lead on the desktop.

Where do all these predictions lead? That Intel will be out of business by 2008, of course. And that Dell’s days are numbered as well.

My take on all this is that the analysis is extremely biased towards the 64-bit picture, but aside from Linux it’s not clear to me that there’s really enough 64-bit software to matter. He makes much hay of the fact that AMD owns 100% of the 64-bit notebook market, but who cares? Who runs 64-bit on their laptops? The simple fact is that the Yonah/Core Duo processor launched this January by Intel has been a staggering success and variations of either Dothan (Yonah’s single-core predecessor) and Yonah are in the vast majority of noteboks sold today. True, AMD has the 64-bit laptop market soliid right now, but Windows isn’t ready for 64-bit anyway. Intel’s Merom chip, the 64-bit version of Yonah, is coming out at the end of the year. Micorosft Vista won’t even be ready until January. So any advantage that AMD has in the notebook market is both miniscule and premature.

And for all the talk of Athlon performance, the future is towards mobile-on-desktop computing. That’s a topic for another day.

Dell XPS M1210

Andrew at NotebookReview has a review of the much-anticipated XPS M1210 laptop from Dell. This 12″ laptop is a truly impressive unit, from both perspectives of performance and design. Some of the highlights compared to the old Inspiron 700/710m models that it replaces:

– higher resolution screen (1280×800 rather than the 1024×780 that is standard for most 12″ models)
– option for dedicated graphics (GeForce Go 7400)
– integrated rotating webcam with directional microphone
– full connectivity suite, including Bluetooth and EVDO
– long battery life (claimed up to 7 hours, but Notebook Review estimates up to 4.5 which is impressive)
– Media Direct quick boot to play movies, music and view photos

As Andrew points out, despite the small screen the M1210 isn’t an ultralight laptop – with all the bells and whistles it weighs almost as much as my 14″ T42 (just under 5 pounds). But the laptop really is an all-around performer – small enough for comfortable travel, powerful enough for any computing tasks and media playback, and robust design build with cool yet professional styling. This thing would be at home on your desktop or as your travel box.