Intel changes stepping, thermal specifications of entry-level Core 2 Duo

  • Santa Clara (CA) – The Core 2 Duo E4400 processor is the latest Core 2 Duo processor to transition to a new stepping and new thermal specifications that provide more room for overclockers and enable system builders to scale back case cooling solutions.

    The E4400 with Allendale core is one of two currently available Core 2 Duo processors with FSB800 (instead of the FSB1066 of the E6000 series) and 2 MB L2 cache. According to a product change notification sent to system builders on Tuesday, the processor will transition from the L-2 to the M-0 stepping and bring a visually different package, which, however, will be pin-compatible with the preceding CPU generation.

    The M-0 stepping processors allow a maximum case temperature of 73.2° Celsius, up from 61.4°C in the preceding L-2 generation. The extended halt power specification is reduced from 12 watts to 8 watts. The product change will require “minimal re-qualification” of the processor, according to Intel: The M-0 stepping calls for a BIOS update and a new thermal qualification is necessary if system builders choose to change a qualified cooling solution to take advantage of the adjusted maximum case temperature.

    Intel said that the transition is “not expected to result in changes to customer platforms designed to previous Intel guidelines.”

    First samples of the M-0 processors are expected to be available between June 18 and 22.