Intel Core i7 vs Intel Core 2 Duo – The Difference

Processor Comparisons

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Intel Core i7 vs Intel Core 2 Duo – The Difference
Intel Core i5 vs Intel Core 2 Duo – The Difference
Intel Core i3 vs Intel Core 2 Duo – The Difference

With the launch of the new Core i7 (Nehalem) processors by Intel, there are many doubts regarding the Difference between Intel Core i7 and Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors. In this post, I will try to list all the differences and also reasons why the new Core i7 architecture is much better than the Core 2 architecture.

Intel Core i7

Codenamed: Bloomfield – Nehalem
Fabrication: 45 nm
Instruction set: X86, X86-64, MMX, SSE 4.2
Socket: LGA 1366
Bus: Quick Path Interconnect
RAM: DDR3
Chipset Support: X58

Intel Core 2 Duo

Codenamed: Conroe, Allendale, Wolfdale – Core 2
Fabrication: 65 nm / 45 nm
Instruction set: X86, X86-64, MMX, SSE 4.1
Socket: LGA 775
Bus: 1333 MHz FSB
RAM: DDR2
Chipset Support: 965, P3x, G3x, P45, X48

Explanation:
(Difference between Intel Core i7 and Core 2 Duo)


The Core i7 is a completely new architecture which is much faster and more efficient than the Core 2 Duo. Currently only the Core i7 920, 945 and 965 XE versions are available. Of that the Core i7 920 is available at just $284 which makes it a great buy. It offers better performance than almost all Core 2 Duo processors.

Native Quad Core, More Cache and Hyper Threading:

All the Core i7 processors are Native Quad cores (4 cores), which means that they actually have 4 cores on a single die, while the older Core 2 Duo processors like the Q6600 (2×2 = 4 cores) had two cores on a single die, and two such dies merged together. This increases the processing speed greatly. They also have 256 KB L2 cache per core and a shared 8 MB L3 cache which has proven to be much better than any cache configuration in Core 2 Duo.

It also has HyperThreading support which means that each of the 4 cores can process 2 threads simultaneously, so you get 8 virtual cores. This helps in running many applications parallely and also in gaming.

Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) and On Die Memory Controller:

The Core i7 processors sport the new Quick Path Interconnect technology which replaces the FSB (Front Side Bus) to connect the various components in a computer. QPI is much faster than FSB and hence improves the overall performance. It is even faster than AMD’s similar HyperTransport 3.0 standard.

The Core i7 have an On Die Memory Controller which means that it can access memory much faster than the Core 2 Duo processors which had an external memory controller. Intel has borrowed this feature from AMD. All the four cores, memory controller, cache are on the same die which improves the speed and performance greatly.


Intel X58 Chipset and DDR3 RAM:

The new Core i7 processors work with Intel’s newest X58 chipset motherboards – these are the best currently available and have superb features like PCI Express 2.0, Support for both AMD’s Crossfire and Nvidia’s SLI to use two graphic cards simultaneously. The combo of Intel X58 and Core i7 also runs much cooler and consumes much less power than the older Core 2 Duo processors. Also the new Core i7 and X58 combo supports only the super fast DDR3 RAM which is becoming cheaper day by day.

These are the main differences between the Intel Core 2 Duo and the Core i7 processors. AMD doesn’t seem to have a decent processor coming up which could compete with Intel’s new Core i7 – the new king. The new Core i7 processors beat every other processor when it comes to performance and are also much more power efficient. They are better for gaming and other tasks. They also overclock better than any Intel or AMD processor.

So if you are planning to buy a new PC, I would suggest you to get a Core i7 based one. Core i7 920 + Intel X58 based motherboard + 1-2 GB DDR3 RAM should cost you about $600.

Note: This post was deliberately dumbed down to make it more understandable to non techies. :P

For any queries, leave a comment below.

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