Analysts and OEMs said Merom offers about 20 percent more performance than Intel's existing dual-core notebook chip, called Yonah. It does so without requiring more battery power.
The 64-bit support helps Intel catch up with what archrival Advanced Micro Devices has already been offering across its product line, including the 64-but AMD Turion for notebooks. From a practical standpoint, however, 64-bit memory addressing is still a nonissue for notebooks.
"It's ahead of what we need right now, although it will come up as a more important feature when Microsoft releases Vista," the next generation of Windows that has built-in 64-bit support, said one notebook engineer who asked not to be named.
Merom uses Intel's existing chip set and 802.11 silicon, the Intel 945 Express and Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG. Both are part of Intel's so-called Napa platform which the company plans to upgrade sometime in 2007.
Additional details on the new platform may come out at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) next month (Sept 26-28). Intel is also expected to talk at IDF more about its plans for bringing to the notebook its Active Management Technology.
Merom is the third of a trio of products Intel launched this year using its new Core Duo microarchitecture. Earlier this year, the company rolled out its dual-core Woodcrest and Conroe CPUs for desktops and servers.