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Intel's dual-core "Yonah" chip could carry PowerBooks beyond 2GHz

post #1 of 120
Thread Starter 
A higher-performance, dual-core version of Intel's Pentium M processor due early next year is a likely candidate to boost Apple's PowerBook line of notebook computers beyond the 2GHz milestone.

The chip, code-named "Yonah," is due to begin showing up in Windows-based systems in the first quarter of 2006 -- a few months before Apple is expected to roll-out its first Intel-based Macs.

Initially, dual-core versions of Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

According to DigiTimes, 1000-unit lots of the dual core chips will wholesale between US$241 on the low-end and US$637 for the top-of-the-line 2.16GHz model. It's possible that Apple, which will likely purchase several hundred thousand of the chips, will be able to obtain them at a further reduced cost.

Yonah will also represent Intels transition from 90nm technology to a 65nm process and is expected to become the gemstone of Napa -- the company's dual-core notebook platform and third generation Centrino bundle. However, the chip will be approximately 70% smaller than the original Centrino chip set, requiring significantly less board space.

At a press conference last Thursday, Intel said the chip's twin cores will increase multitasking performance in notebook-based systems, but also help extend battery life. A feature called Dynamic Power Coordination will allow Yonah's two cores to be power-managed independently, making it possible to shut down one of the cores to aid in power consumption. It will also allow for on-the-fly changes to the chip's voltage and frequency, the company said.

Another major feature of Yonah is Digital Media Boost, a dual-part update delivering improvements to the chips SSE instructions for multimedia and Floating Point unit. Together, Intel says the updates will improve everything from digital photo manipulation to video editing, gaming, and music.

Yonah will also sport a new shared memory 2MB level 2 cache, dubbed "Smart Cache," which will keep data in close proximity to the processor cores for faster access. This feature is a prime component of Yonah's enhanced power management because it allows a single core to access the chip's entire memory cache when the other core is switched off.

It's believed that 32-bit Yonah chip will also be used in compact Apple desktop design, like the Mac mini.
post #2 of 120
yonah gets better and better the more i hear about it


with portables poised to have a higher and higher share of the market... apple is definitely in a position to dominate, with the killer OS of course... but also because most companies simply use ass reference designs that aren't really optimized and not at all sexy.
post #3 of 120
Yonah gives me a bonah!
post #4 of 120
It looks like Apple will now be able to provide a clear separation between the iBooks (single-core) and PowerBooks (dual-core). I am sure there will be other differences, but I hope Apple will not cripple the iBooks just to widen the gap between the two lines.
post #5 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by troberts
It looks like Apple will now be able to provide a clear separation between the iBooks (single-core) and PowerBooks (dual-core). I am sure there will be other differences, but I hope Apple will not cripple the iBooks just to widen the gap between the two lines.

My guess is that the iBook will bet a Celeron-M (the somewhat stripped down version of Yonah).
post #6 of 120
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

1.66GHz to 2.16GHz isnt that a bit slow for 2006?
post #7 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Moscow
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

1.66GHz to 2.16GHz isnt that a bit slow for 2006?

I don't know. A dual core version of a chip that at 2.5 Ghz keeps up with a P4 3.6 Ghz with 2MB cache and an Athlon FX-55, should keep users relatively happy.
post #8 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
Yonah will also represent Intels transition from 90nm technology to a 65nm process and is expected to become the gemstone of Napa -- the company's dual-core notebook platform and third generation Centrino bundle. However, the chip will be approximately 70% smaller than the original Centrino chip set, requiring significantly less board space.


70% smaller?!!!

Wow, how big was it to begin with? Small is good, particularly for Apple's design standards. Their wording is a little odd. They call it a "chip" and then refer to Centrino "chip set" in the same sentence. Which are we talking about the physical cpu chip or the whole chip set which generally means the mainboard?
post #9 of 120
One thing is sure : when Apple will ship a Yonah powerbook with a mobility radeon 800XT, I will be one of the first to order one. A dual core Yonah chip at 1,66 ghz will kick the ass of my G4 1 ghz powerbook with geforce 4 mx for sure.
post #10 of 120
Wouldn't Yonah be too expensive for a Mac mini?

Also, keep in mind that this is not a P4 - it's architecture is much better and more efficient. That's why a 2.5 GHz (overclocked) Pentium M can beat an Athlon FX-55.

Also, note the statement on Tomshardware.com:

"The Pentium 4 Must Go (alternatively: Kill The Pentium 4!)"

That saying something!
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post #11 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Moscow
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

1.66GHz to 2.16GHz isnt that a bit slow for 2006?

Just to remind you that GHz doesn't equal performance. Two cores do more than one, faster bus allows for more throughput.
post #12 of 120
The report seems to indicate that Yonah is a 32-bit chip. Does it also come in a 64-bit flavor?
post #13 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by WelshDog
70% smaller?!!!

Wow, how big was it to begin with? Small is good, particularly for Apple's design standards. Their wording is a little odd. They call it a "chip" and then refer to Centrino "chip set" in the same sentence. Which are we talking about the physical cpu chip or the whole chip set which generally means the mainboard?

Centrino is a trademark name for the CPU and system ASICs, the platform. The ASICs are nice little integrated chips that include wireless, audio, graphics, and other I/O.

The 70% is for the difference between the 130 nm Banias/Centrino platform and the 65 nm Yonah/Napa platform. Going from 130 nm to 65 nm results in a 75% reduction in chip size for equal amounts of transistors.

Since Yonah has nearly 3 times the transistors that Banias has, that 70% really doesn't apply to the CPU. The system ASIC could see a 70% reduction in size, but I doubt that too.

However, since the platform has everything integrated into 3 chips (including graphics, audio, and wireless), it will allow for some very petite board designs.
post #14 of 120
The Pentium Ms at half the Pentium 4 clock speeds are really competitive workwise.

I'm going to scoop up a mini with one of these babies as soon as they are available. It's going to finally be the solution to playing HD MPEG4 AVC on the current G4 computers.
post #15 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by WelshDog
70% smaller?!!!

Wow, how big was it to begin with? Small is good, particularly for Apple's design standards. Their wording is a little odd. They call it a "chip" and then refer to Centrino "chip set" in the same sentence. Which are we talking about the physical cpu chip or the whole chip set which generally means the mainboard?

The Centrino brand refers to Intel's mobile technology. The Pentium M processor is part of that, as are their wireless networking doohickeys. Yonah refers specifically to the processor. I think the current Pentium M is code named Banias or maybe Dothan. Intel has more codenames than I care to learn.

edit: beaten
post #16 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Moscow
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

1.66GHz to 2.16GHz isnt that a bit slow for 2006?

Refer to "Megahertz Myth".

667MHz FSB... the PowerMac G5's use a 400MHz bus to memory.

This machine is going to scream.
post #17 of 120
Sorry.....missed the comment above w/link to the benchmarks.
post #18 of 120
Can I point out two things?

1) This is the first thread about Intel chips where the Mac community here has been drooling. We would have found ways to slag it off or ignore it before.

2) Me too. Our Macs will still be Macs. It feels good.
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post #19 of 120
And thus the reason for Apple's switch. The future of the Pentium M is great whereas IBM has been having tons of problems with low voltage G5s that could possibly go into a laptop. Beside concerns over IBM's supply issues, this is likely the biggie. IBM will still turn out some great desktop chips. This is why the PowerMac will move last. I wouldn't be surprised if the mini, iBook, and Powerbook are the first Apple's offered with Intel chips. The Intels would offer big performance increased for the portables and the mini will likely still share with the iBook.
post #20 of 120
Harald,

Nice catch. Good points.

I'm drooling b/c I was always promised speed (68040, 604e, G4, G5, etc) but it was never delivered consistently. With Intel we get a public roadmap and a sure and steady ship (as far as the PC processor market goes).

Not too hot, not too cold... I feel like Goldilocks
post #21 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by pdubyu
Harald,

Nice catch. Good points.

I'm drooling b/c I was always promised speed (68040, 604e, G4, G5, etc) but it was never delivered consistently. With Intel we get a public roadmap and a sure and steady ship (as far as the PC processor market goes).

Not too hot, not too cold... I feel like Goldilocks

Not to put a damper on things...but both Moto and IBM looked like winners at the time too.
It's nice to drool, but perhaps we should temper our excitement until it ships.
post #22 of 120
Quote:
The report seems to indicate that Yonah is a 32-bit chip. Does it also come in a 64-bit flavor?

In the long run, yes,. When they're released in Q1 of next year? Maybe yes, maybe no. Rumors say 'yes', but official Intel roadmap says 'no'. OTOH, Intel has been releasing things ahead of schedule recently.
post #23 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
Initially, dual-core versions Yonah will be available in four flavors, ranging from 1.66GHz to 2.16GHz, each with a 667MHz front side bus. A single core 1.66GHz version of Yonah is also reportedly in the works.

I'm not up with the dual core lingo, I take it this is 1.66Ghz for both cores rather than each core?
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post #24 of 120
If it's an n.mm GHz chip, then both cores are running at the same time and they are running at n.mm GHz.

So the slowest speed chip ( the 1.66 GHz chip ) is just like having two chips, both of which are running at 1.66 GHz.
post #25 of 120
Ho Hum
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post #26 of 120
Intel is such a huge company though. I don't see them stumbling as Moto and IBM have. Their roadmap looks awesome.

Sidenote: anybody seen anandtechs article on it? Looks pretty good.
post #27 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by jaffi
Intel is such a huge company though. I don't see them stumbling as Moto and IBM have. Their roadmap looks awesome.

The most important thing is that if Intel stumbles, everyone else stumbles too. As Intel goes, so does the microprocessor market. That will be a first for Mac users and it should be a good thing.
post #28 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by jarodsix
Just to remind you that GHz doesn't equal performance. Two cores do more than one, faster bus allows for more throughput.

Jarodsix,
It's okay, man. We're using Intel now, we don't have to pretend anymore about that whole "megahertz myth" thing.
post #29 of 120
It's just astonishing to read this thread... if you showed any of us a transcript of this conversation a week ago, we would've laughed you out of the room.

post #30 of 120
Wow this can't be the same AppleInsider forum where just yesterday there was nothing but negativity about the Intel situation.

This just shows, that change isn't always a bad thing. Bring on the Intel chips!
post #31 of 120
I think it would be easier for the "intel sucks, OMG" crowd not to choke on their talking points that they mindlessly held for so many years against intel like standard democrat talking points if they just use their brain and think about it.

I think we're starting to see some people thinking.
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post #32 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by g3pro
I think it would be easier for the "intel sucks, OMG" crowd not to choke on their talking points that they mindlessly held for so many years against intel like standard democrat talking points if they just use their brain and think about it.

I think we're starting to see some people thinking.

Not only that, but I just read an article at "i, cringley" (http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050609.html) that said he's under the impression that Intel HATES Microsoft. Heck, that's a good enough reason alone to team up with 'em. If we're going to save the world from the bloated vaporware that is Longhorn, we'd better team up with (or get bought by, according to Cringley) Intel. It's a fascinating read.
post #33 of 120
The 64 bit version of Yohan is due out around the same time as Longhorn, there has been rumors that Intel might not reach that date, and Longhorn may have to be pushed back, since Longhorn is a 64bit OS.
post #34 of 120
Quote:
Another major feature of Yonah is Digital Media Boost, a dual-part update delivering improvements the chips SSE instructions for multimedia and Floating Point unit. Together, Intel says the updates will improve everything from digital photo manipulation to video editing, gaming, and music.

While not exactly the same, this definitely sounds like Intel's 2006 version of AltiVec, which is definitely a good thing for the media gurus and game whores around here.
post #35 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by atomicham
My guess is that the iBook will bet a Celeron-M (the somewhat stripped down version of Yonah).

I have not seen the specs on a single core yonah, but a currently shipping dothan is single core and is in the G5 'class'.
post #36 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by Harald
Can I point out two things?

1) This is the first thread about Intel chips where the Mac community here has been drooling. We would have found ways to slag it off or ignore it before.

2) Me too. Our Macs will still be Macs. It feels good.

Not entirely true, some posters including myself pointed out the virtues of the 2nd gen centrino 'dothan' when it was announced (@1.8G). It has taken Intel some time but they had finally surpassed anything from Moto on the low power front.

The current 2.16G chips blow the G4 away - but more importantly OS X will scream on top of these chips.
post #37 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by hasapi
I have not seen the specs on a single core yonah, but a currently shipping dothan is single core and is in the G5 'class'.

Well, I am basing them using the Celeron in the iBook on power savings not performance (if I understand you right).

From the Inquirer

Quote:
Intel will also introduce a Yonah based Celeron M at 65 nanometres, it will have a 533MHz front side bus, 1MB of level two cache, and be dubbed the 4XX series. It will also introduce an ultra low voltage member of this family. They're due in the second quarter of next year.
post #38 of 120
Its good to see a lot of positive technical details coming out, but I think it's obvious at this point that technology is not going to be the issue; its marketing and developer support.

Apple has two huge marketing hurdles:
Convincing people to buy PPC machines over the next two years when the perception (not necessarily reality) is going to be that better Intel machines are coming and that PPC machines will be obsolete. Apple might be able to afford the loss in revenue thanks to the iPod, but can they afford a further loss in market share?

Convincing people that the MacIntel is not just another PC now. The folks at Dell and especially the know-nothing retail sales people outside Apple stores are going to be using this line like a mantra. Apple has never marketed their OS well; the marketing emphasis has been on hardware. They'll have to do a huge about-face on this one.

The developer issue may be an even bigger problem:
Why optimize my application for MacIntel when Rosetta is good(enough)?
Why port games for the Mac when Mac owners can just load Windows on their machine and run it that way?
Heck, why write any code for the Mac since owners can run my software on Windows on the same machine.

I think that these are the questions keeping people up at night over at Apple.
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post #39 of 120
Quote:
Originally posted by neumac
Apple has two huge marketing hurdles:
Convincing people to buy PPC machines over the next two years when the perception (not necessarily reality) is going to be that better Intel machines are coming and that PPC machines will be obsolete.

I don't understand why people are focusing on this to the exclusion of the opposite problem. It seems to me to be a much tougher sell to convince people to buy Intel Macs when they come out. You know your software will work on the PPC Macs, but you don't know that all of your software will work on the Intel Macs.

Perhaps it's just a phenomenon of being on a computer forum; I doubt that real people are concerned about it, if they even know about. What might concern them is buying a new Mac in 2006-7 when they find out that it has a different brain than the previous models. Then they'll have to worry about whether software they get will actually work on it.
post #40 of 120
Quote:
667MHz FSB... the PowerMac G5's use a 400MHz bus to memory.

Actually, that's incorrect. While the memory in current PowerMac G5s does indeed run at 400MHZ (it's PC3200 memory), the FSB in the Dual 2.7 GHZ actually runs at 1.35GHz, which is very impressive compared to anything else available on the market.

However, you have to realise the Pentium M is a mobile processor, and should be compared that 667MHz FSB to the PowerBook's FSB, which is at a mere 167MHz (probably due to Motorola's incompetence more than anything else).
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