Core Duo on the desktop


Asus delivers the first micro-ATX mobo for Intel's mobile gem
— 12:58 AM on April 18, 2006

THE CORE DUO MAY WELL BE Intel's best microprocessor. Conceived initially as a mobile processor, Core Duo is the dual-core descendant of the Pentium M and the direct predecessor to Intel's next-generation microarchitecture, versions of which are due to arrive in desktops, servers, workstations, and laptops later this year. You can understand, then, why we have been waiting impatiently, wriggling in our chairs, until somebody—anybody—actually delivered a desktop-style motherboard for this puppy. This high-performance, low-power processor could be an ideal centerpiece for a fast but quiet desktop system or a killer home theater PC. Equipped with desktop-class cooling and overclocked accordingly, the Core Duo might turn into a fire-breathing titan of performance—and it could give us something of a glimpse of Intel's future, as well.

One of the first Core Duo desktop mobos, the N4L-VM DH from Asus, finally arrived in Damage Labs just over a week ago. Since then, we've been busily testing this processor against a broad range of potential competitors, from other mobile-on-desktop options like the Turion 64 and Pentium M to the latest dual-core desktop processors like the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 and the Athlon 64 FX-60. Can the Core Duo really hold its own against today's fastest desktop processors? What we found may surprise you.

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