Compared to Intel Core Duo (Yonah), Intel Core 2 Duo
(Merom) has larger L2 cache, slightly deeper pipeline and added decode
and execution units. In addition, Merom features more aggressive
pre-fetch mechanisms than Yonah, as well as Intel’s Memory
Disambiguation technology that allows for out-of-order loads. In other
words, not only is Merom able to process more data at once, at a faster
speed, but it can also get access to that data quicker.
Overall, Merom may not be as big of an upgrade to Yonah as Conroe was to NetBurst, but the bottom line is that you get equal or better performance in every test without increasing cost or decreasing battery life. Owners of Core Duo laptops really have no reason to worry about upgrading for now, and waiting for the Santa Rosa platform before your next laptop upgrade seems reasonable. Those looking to purchase a new notebook on the other hand have no reason to avoid Core 2 Duo models, assuming pricing is consistent with what Intel is promising. There will be a delay of at least a few more weeks as we await availability, and testing and validation by laptop manufacturers may delay things a bit more, but within the next month or so you should be able to get a Core 2 laptop.