Intel disclosed a huge amount of details on its next-generation processors at the IDF on Tuesday and here is some more information about the Merom, which will be launched in the second half of 2006 for the notebook market.
This chip has been designed from ground up and will feature a 14 stages pipeline. But it isn't certain whether that is 14 critical stages, or 14 overall stages. This design uses lots less stages than the Pentium 4 NetBurst design, basically it will result in lower clockspeeds, lower power consumption and higher performance.
Intel disclosed the Merom cores are able to keep up a sustained four ops from issue to retire. Each pipeline is a full pipe versus the old P6 derived simple and complex pipe structures. The number of ALU has been greatly increased as well.
The Merom will be dual-core and will feature shared L2 cache memory like the Yonah. There are some new features like direct L1 to L1 cache link and Memory Disambiguation. Both features will improve performance of the Merom processors, as well as a feature called Micro-Op Fusion which was introduced with the Banias.
The previous processors already featured some power saving technology but the Merom will take it further. In default state all units of the processor will be powered down. Only when units are needed they are powered up, reducing power consumption significantly.
The unit power up takes a few clock cycles, and again, while exact numbers are classified, it is more than one, less than 10 in most cases. This depends greatly on processor power state, but it should not be all that noticeable.
On the baggage side, the lower integer performance is more due to the shorter pipe length, and it looks like Merom cores will be faster than Opteron+'s in int, but lose a little to them in FP, quite the change.
The Merom processor has a 35W thermal design power (TDP) but on average at will only use 1-2W.
How fast are they? Well as far as raw clock speeds, Merom will be in the low 2Ghz range, Conroe and Woodcrest in the 2.5-3GHz range and Clovertown a couple of bins down from Woodcrest. Clock for clock, look for a 30% improvement. This chip is going to give AMD quite the run for its money.
More detailed information about the new features the Merom will bring can be read at The Inquirer