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Thursday, August 17, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Merom's thermal specs fail to impress

Intel Corp's soon-to-be-released Core 2 Duo notebook chips will offer speed increases over the company's current notebook processors, but their thermal design may leave much to be desired.

Specifications released by Intel this week to system designers reveal that the chips, formerly code-named Merom, each have a thermal design point (TDP) of 34 watts — about 3 watts more than the top of the line 2.33GHz Core Duo (Yonah).

Intel defines TDP as the "worst-case power dissipated" by a processor while running publicly available software under normal operating conditions.

The recent findings are confusing, as Intel had previously stated that Merom would provide about a 20 percent speed increase over Yonah — the chip it aims to replace — without drawing any additional power.

In battery mode, Merom processors clock down to 1GHz, yet still carry a TDP of 20 watts, according to DailyTech. On the other hand, a Yonah chip in the same mode has a TDP of 13.1 watts while also at 1GHz.

Still, Apple Computer is soon expected to adopt the chips in an update to its MacBook Pro line of professional notebooks.

Intel has stated that the first Merom-based systems should start turning up from systems manufacturers late this month.