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Frequently Asked Questions about Intel® Mobile Processors

Last Reviewed: 09-Jan-2017
Article ID: 000007419

Click on the questions to expand the content:

Can I run my 16-bit application with a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor?
  • 16-bit applications and software are not validated on 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors.
  • 16-bit may run on 32-bit operating systems, but it is not optimized for 32-bit OS.
    Note From the Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer's Manual (Doc. id 325462) Section 21.2: Performance - Always use 32- bit code segments when possible, they run much faster than 16-bit code segments on P6 family processors and somewhat faster on earlier IA-32 processors- 16-bit components, 16-bit processes and 16-bit applications are not supported by 64-bit Operating Systems.
  • Please consult with your software vendor to see if they have a 32-bit or 64-bit version to use with newer hardware and operating systems.
What does Halogen Free mean?

Halogen Free implies the following: Bromine and/or chlorine in materials that may be used during processing, but do not remain within the final product are not included in this definition. The halogens fluorine (F), iodine (I), and astatine (At) are not restricted by this standard. “BFR/CFR and PVC-Free” Definition: An article must meet all of the following requirements to be defined as “BFR/CFR and PVC-Free”:

  1. All PCB laminates must meet Br and Cl requirements for low halogen as defined in IPC-4101B.
  2. For components other than PCB laminates, all homogeneous materials must contain < 900 ppm (0.09%) of Bromine [if the Bromine (Br) source is from BFRs] and < 900 ppm (0.09%) of Chlorine [if the Chlorine (Cl) source is from CFRs or PVC. Higher concentrations of Br and Cl are allowed in homogenous materials of components other than PCB laminates as long as their sources are not BFRs, CFRs, PVC.
  3. Although the elemental analysis for Br and Cl in homogeneous materials can be performed by any analytical method with sufficient sensitivity and selectivity, the presence or absence of BFRs, CFRs or PVC must be verified by any acceptable analytical techniques that allow for the unequivocal identification of the specific Br or Cl compounds, or by appropriate material declarations agreed to between customer and supplier.
What is multi-core architecture?Explained most simply, a dual-core processor entails silicon design engineers placing two Intel® Pentium® Processor "execution cores," or computational engines, within a single processor. This dual-core processor plugs directly into a single processor socket, but the operating system perceives each of its execution cores as a discrete logical processor, with all the associated execution resources. Future versions of Intel’s multi-core architecture processors will have more than two execution cores.
Is Core Duo 32-bit or 64-bit technology?

To verify whether or not an an Intel® Processor is 32-bit or 64-bit capable, check the "Supported Features" section within Product Specifications and Comparisons to see if Intel® 64 Architecture is listed. If so, the processor in question is 64-bit capable.

64-bit computing on Intel® 64 Architecture requires a computer system with a processor, chipset, BIOS, operating system, device drivers and applications enabled for Intel® 64 Architecture. Processors will not operate (including 32-bit operation) without an Intel 64 Architecture-enabled BIOS. Performance will vary depending on your hardware and software configurations. See Intel® 64 Architecture for more information including details on which processors support Intel® 64 or consult with your system vendor for more information.

What does “Maximum System TDP” mean?Maximum System TDP is the aggregate of the maximum TDP values for the processor(s), MCH, and ICH of the grouping you have chosen or the search feature has found. Note that MCHs & ICHs may have varying TDP values depending on the number of active memory channels, the front-side bus speed, and other such factors. Please consult the respective Thermal Design Guides for the parts in question. For the sake of safe estimates, we have always chosen the highest possible TDP values.
What's the difference between Max TDP and Stepping TDP?For processors, the TDP will sometimes vary depending on the stepping of the processor. The Max TDP is the highest TDP value of all the steppings. Stepping TDP is the TDP for that particular stepping of the processor.
What does “Intel® SIPP” mean?Intel® Stable Image Platform Program (Intel® SIPP), established in 2003, delivers standardized HW platform and image stability for 1 year after product launch.
What is the required voltage a processor consumes?To find the voltage that an Intel® Processor consumes, check the "Processor Specifications" section within Product Specifications and Comparisons for the processor in question. Within the Processor Specification section you will find a link to the product documentation.
What is the difference between multi-core architecture and Hyper-Threading (HT Technology) Technology?HT Technology is limited to a single core using existing execution resources more efficiently to better enable threading, whereas multi-core capability provides two complete sets of execution resources to increase compute throughput. Any application that has been threaded for HT Technology should deliver great performance when run on an Intel multi-core processor-based system. Accordingly, users will be able to take advantage of many existing applications that are already optimized for two threads from the earliest days of Intel’s transition to multi-core architectures across its desktop, notebook and server processor product lines.
Will my application work on a multi-core system if my code is not threaded?Intel’s tradition of backwards compatibility goes back to its earliest processors and continues today. Any application that will run on a single core Intel® Processor will run on an Intel multi-core processor. However, in order for an application to take advantage of the multi-core capabilities, the code should be multithreaded.
What applications are good candidates to be moved from serial to multithreaded to experience performance gains on multi-core systems?First, any program that is in a class of applications where threading is already relatively common – video encoding, 3D rendering, video/photo editing and high performance computing/workstation applications. These applications are especially amenable to thread level parallelism because many of their computations can run simultaneously. Second, though most games are single-threaded today, gaming applications also can benefit from multithreading. For example, physics and artificial intelligence (AI) can run on separate threads, potentially leading to a more realistic and challenging gaming environment. Finally, Intel has plans to quickly transition to multi-core architecture across all of its product lines and most industry watchers expect processor clock speeds to level off in the years ahead. The implication is that, in the near future, threading and concurrency will be increasingly important in boosting the performance of all software.
Besides using threaded applications, when else might end users experience a performance gain on multi-core systems?Multitasking users or those working in environments marked by lots of background processing also should benefit from multi-core systems. Behind-the-scenes processing is increasingly the norm in business computing environments. Examples include users who run background data mining queries while working on other tasks in the foreground or corporate IT departments that unobtrusively update software, troubleshoot hardware or perform virus scanning and other management tasks over the corporate network.
What is Micro-Ops Fusion?

Micro-Ops Fusion is a technology that uses fewer CPU resources to execute operations than traditional microprocessors by merging CPU operations together prior to execution in order to increase performance and efficiency. When the micro-operations are fused they use less processor resources in order to handle the same number of operations. Two fused micro-operations occupy a single resource and thus they make the machine behave as a wider machine. Micro-ops fusion delivers efficiency in both performance and power management.

Analogy: A taxi pooling multiple riders into a single trip to save time and energy.

What is Advanced Instruction Prediction?

Advanced instruction prediction is a technology that allows the processor to study the past behavior of programs and intelligently anticipate what instructions will be needed next. The processor can line up instructions for execution before a program requests them. By anticipating changes in program flow rather than merely responding to them, the processor improves performance and efficiency. Predicting branches correctly is one of the areas of high leverage for both performance and power. On top of the standard Bi-Model/Global predictor the processor also includes a loop detector and an indirect branch target buffer.

Analogy: A word processing program that completes a word after you type the first few letters, improving speed and efficiency.

What is the dedicated stack manager?

The dedicated stack manager significantly reduces the number of micro-operations required for the "overhead" of stack management inside the processor. Traditional processors repeatedly interrupt program execution to maintain their own internal accounting. Processors with a dedicated stack manager use sophisticated, specialized-hardware enabling the processor to execute program instructions without interruption, using less power.

Certain instructions use the architectural stack as source of operands. In those instructions there's an overhead work of managing the stack on top of the actual operation that needs to occur. Typically those overhead operations are done using the main machine flow which is a very inefficient way from both power and performance perspective. There are advanced synchronization mechanisms that make sure that the stack pointer value is visible to the software just when it's needed.

What is the power-optimized processor system bus?The power-optimized processor system bus remains powered down until it senses incoming data form the chipset, allowing to the processor to consume less power. In a typical microarchitecture, a processor has its bus turned on even when it is not in use. With Intel® Processors, portions of the bus are turned on only when they are needed. Architectural and circuit innovations enabled this power-optimized processor system bus technology which lowers power through reduced voltage swing and tighter buffer management.
What is intelligent power distribution?

Most machines employ some level of hardware clock gating to reduce power consumption. Intel® Processors implement finer granularity hardware gating mechanisms that allows turning on hardware units partially based on program demand.

Analogy: A motion sensor that turns lights on when you enter a room and shuts them off when you exit

What is the large, power-aware Secondary Cache?The large cache allows a significant reduction in memory data latency providing a big performance improvement. The power-aware cache implements several features to reduce cache power consumption. Traditional microprocessors run the cache as fast as possible, the processor cache on the processor runs slightly slower to save energy and cut down on electricity leakage enabling longer battery life. Special circuit and micro-architectural innovations were implemented in order to reduce power consumption. For example the cache unit keeps track of the last entry that was accessed such that repeating accesses to the same location will not have to lookup the array, thus eliminating a high power operation.
What is deeper sleep alert state?Deep Sleep and Deeper Sleep Alert States are very low power states the processor can enter during periods of inactivity while still maintaining its context. The Deeper Sleep Alert State is functionally identical to the Deep Sleep Alert State but at a significantly lower voltage providing added benefits of power savings and longer battery life. The Deeper Sleep Alert State is automatically enabled on the platform through the I/O Controller Hub component and the voltage regulator, so there is no user interaction required. This feature maintains processor performance characteristics while taking advantage of the increased power savings.
What is mobile packaging technology?

Flip-chip packaging eliminated the wire-bond approach in favor of mounting the die directly to a substrate, improving power delivery and reducing impedance.

The mobile Micro-FCPGA (micro flip chip pin grid array) and Micro-FCBGA (micro flip chip ball grid array) packaging technology provides significant improvements in power delivery and pin inductance compared to their predecessors resulting in dramatically improved performance. The packages incorporate separate power and ground planes and on-package capacitance needed at higher speeds - reducing board space for the implementation. Space savings contribute to smaller designs and more mobility.

FCPGA is a socket processor; FCBGA is soldiered to the board.

What is streaming SIMD extensions 2 (SSE2)?The microarchitecture includes the new extensions to SIMD capabilities that MMX™ technology and SSE technology delivered by adding 144 new instructions. The instructions include 128-bit SIMD integer arithmetic and 128-bit SIMD double-precision floating-point operations. The overall number of instructions required to execute a particular program task is reduced and can contribute to an overall performance increase. They accelerate a broad range of applications, including video, speech, and image, photo processing, encryption, financial, engineering and scientific applications.
What is an sSpec Number?An sSpec number is a five-digit code used to identify products. Products are differentiated by their unique characteristics, including core speed, L2 cache size, and package type.
How do I obtain software and drivers?

Software needed for your processor is included in your system BIOS.

  • Why can’t I find BIOS updates?
    Any BIOS updates released specifically for your processor would be included in BIOS updates for your motherboard. For compatibility issues, check to see if your motherboard supports your processor and if a specific revision of BIOS is needed for processor support. Please refer to your system or motherboard manufacturer's web site to find updates for your specific board.
  • Intel® Driver Update Utility automatically identifies and finds drivers and keeps your system up-to-date. It detects which driver updates are relevant to your computer, and then helps you install them quickly and easily.
  • Video drivers and audio drivers
    Video and audio drivers are specific to your motherboard, not your processor. To find the correct drivers for your system, see your system or motherboard manufacturer's website.
  • Chipset software
    Software designed for your motherboard’s chipset would be found on the Chipset Software Hardware Support site. It is not available for download from the Intel® Processor support site.
  • Processor Identification Utilities
    You can download two Intel® Processor Identification Utilities to help you identify your Intel® Processor.
What troubleshooting steps should I take if my system won't boot or shuts down?

The suggestions below are intended only as a guide to resolve issues with laptops or notebooks with Intel® Mobile Processors. Your laptop, notebook system, or mobile motherboard manufacturer may have the latest information to help resolve your issues.

Note Disassembling, assembling, upgrading, and troubleshooting computers should be performed only by a computer professional. Electronic devices may cause serious damage to the installer, the system, and its components if installed improperly. Before attempting to disassemble or assemble a notebook or laptop computer, carefully review the the product's documentation.

Make sure you will not void the system warranty by opening the product or replacing any of the components inside. Also make sure to follow Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) procedures.
  • Determine if the system worked before.
  • Determine if there have been any recent changes. Often, recent changes are the cause of the problem. If recent changes have been done, verify the configuration of those changes. If you installed a new device, suspect that the new device is causing the problem. This can be done by replacing the suspect device with a known working device and trying that device in a known working machine.
  • Check the LCD panel brightness and contrast controls.
  • If you are trying to run the laptop from battery, try running the laptop from the AC adapter. If it works with the AC adapter, you have a problem with your battery or charging system. Contact your laptop manufacturer or vendor.
  • Use a voltmeter or an AC tester to confirm that there is adequate AC voltage at the wall outlet.
  • An AC adapter can be tested with a voltmeter (measuring DC voltage) whereas the output should be /-.3 volts.
  • Check for shorts and overloads inside computer by removing nonessential items such as PC cards and drives, just to see if the machine attempts a Power-On Self Test.
  • Make sure that the laptop computer supports the processor that you are installing, including type of processor, speed, and voltage. Not all processors are backwards compatible.
  • If you have installed a processor, make sure it is completely inserted in the socket and oriented correctly. Make sure that the screw that locks the processor in place is adjusted correctly. Check the laptop service manual for the correct processor orientation.
  • Any time you add, remove, or replace a processor, consult with your notebook or laptop vendor to make sure the proper thermal interface material (TIM) is used.
  • Swap any detachable RAM and the processor with known good replacements one at a time. If one of these components is suspect, try it in another laptop computer. If you installed RAM into the notebook computer, make sure that the RAM is on the tested memory list for the laptop computer.
  • If the issue is not resolved, contact your notebook vendor or manufacturer.
Is Intel changing the way it measures performance (not leading with MHz)?

Megahertz (MHz), or clock speed, is one measurement of performance in PC platforms. MHz a reliable measure of relative performance within each architecture family. For example, Intel® Centrino® Mobile Technology at 1.60 GHz outperforms an Intel® Centrino® Mobile Technology at 1.30 GHz. Factors that influence platform performance are CPU architecture and frequency, usage models, software applications, BIOS, and different types of memory.

For mobile PCs, benchmarks that simultaneously measure battery life and performance are good indicators of user experience. MobileMark* 2002 is a benchmark used to evaluate laptop PC user experience by measuring both performance and battery life on the same workload. MobileMark* 2002 measures performance on popular business-oriented applications in Microsoft Windows*. The productivity usage model provides computations representing business users using office productivity and content creation applications. This usage model reports a performance score and a battery life score.

Visit Performance Rich Technologies for MobileMark* 2002 benchmark information, including comparisons between Intel® Notebook Processors or Intel® Centrino® Processor Technology.

How do Intel® Centrino® Processor Technology-based systems deliver high performance, even at relatively lower frequencies?

A system's performance can be influenced by the processor's MHz. Intel® Centrino® Processor Technology benefits from a unique micro-architecture, optimized for the mobile segment, to deliver breakthrough mobile performance with low power characteristics through efficient execution and advanced power-saving techniques.

The design focuses on three main areas: efficient execution engine, enhanced data bandwidth, and advanced power control. The combination delivers a mobile performance ordinarily associated with higher MHz, but at much lower power consumption. MHz is the relative measure of good performance within each architectural family.

Examples of 'Efficient Execution' include: Advanced Branch Prediction, Micro-Ops Fusion, Dedicated Stack Manager

Examples of 'Enhanced Data Bandwidth" include: Larger 1MB Cache, High Performance PSB,  Advanced Pre-Fetch Logic

Examples of 'Advanced Power Control' include: fine grain Aggressive Clock Gating, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology.

Where can I learn more about dual-core and quad-core technology?

Find more information:

Why are the CPU graphs in Microsoft Windows* Task Manager not identical?This is not unusual if you have a multi-core processor. Each box represents one of the cores in the processor. For example, dual-core processors have 2 graphs, and quad-care processors have 4 graphs. The graphs are not identical because few applications can spread their processing load completely evenly across cores. More advanced programs (Games) are written to take advantage of multiple cores and will spread the processing load more evenly across cores.
How can I disable a core on my multi-core processor?Check with your system vendor to determine if your system has BIOS options for disabling secondary cores. For Intel® Desktop Boards, the BIOS option is generally called "Core Multiplexing Technology."
How can I tell if all the cores are working on my multi-core processor?

Open Microsoft Windows* Task Manager and look at the Performance tab. You should see a graph for each core. If you do not see a graph for each core, check the following:

  • Make sure Task Manager is configured to show multiple graphs:
    • Open Task Manager.
    • Click View/CPU History/One Graph Per CPU.
  • Make sure that you have the proper BIOS options in your system and processor.
  • Check the BIOS settings. Make sure all cores are enabled.
  • Make sure that you have the latest updates for your operating system.
  • Run the Intel® Processor Identification Utility to ensure that you have a genuine Intel® Processor and that it is being identified by your system.
    See download information for Intel® Processor Identification Utility
Can I set a program to work with a specific core on my multi-core processor?

Yes, you can use the Set Affinity option in Microsoft Windows* Task Manager to select which core(s) to work with the program. To find the Set Affinity option, right-click on a process in the Processes tab in Task Manager.

Note Third party applications are available for automatically setting processor affinity.
Where can I find information such as processor speed, processor number, cache size, chipset compatibility, pricing, and product order codes?

You can search the Processor Products Database for Intel® Processor information. If you cannot find (search or browse) an Intel® Processor, send us your feedback.

For more information about Intel® Processors for mobile, refer to the following:


This article applies to: