Intel's Pentium M 760 versus AMD's Turion 64 ML-44

Mobile Goliath meets would-be David
— 10:32 AM on February 13, 2006

ALTHOUGH INTEL HAS BEEN STRUGGLING on the desktop front of late, things on the mobile side have been going just fine, thank you. In fact, the Pentium M has been doing so well that Intel's desktop line will eventually be migrating to a processor based on a similar architecture. Heck, even Apple joined in on the fun. Near the top of the heap is the Pentium M 760, which features a 533MHz front-side bus, an operating frequency of 2.0GHz and a whopping 2MB of L2 cache.

AMD's answer to the Pentium M is the Turion 64, an Athlon 64-based design which rides in a 754-pin socket. The Turion 64's attributes include an on-die memory controller, a 1GHz HyperTransport link, and of course the ability to run 64-bit code. The model we'll be looking at today is the ML-44, a new chip with a 2.4GHz operating frequency and 1MB of L2 cache.

We have been watching the mobile processor space for a while now with some interest, wondering whether the Turion 64 really matches up well against the Pentium M. The Pentium M's power-saving features and performance per watt are the stuff of modern legend. AMD has done well with Opteron in servers and the Athlon 64 in desktops, but surely AMD's K8-derived mobile competitor doesn't match up with the likes of the Pentium M. Does it?

Well, we wanted to find out before the game changes again. Intel's recently announced Core Duo marks the beginning of a transition to multicore processors in the mobile space, and AMD has stated its intention to make a dual-core version of the Turion, as well. Core Duo laptops are just starting to arrive on the market, although volumes are still somewhat limited. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at the two most widely available mobile processors today: the Pentium M versus the Turion 64.

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