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N00b's Guide to Conroe Based Performance Computing and OC Results

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Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Aug 30, 2004
Santa Barbara, CA

Work in Progress!

::Newbie's Guide to Conroe Based Performance Computing and OC Results::

O.K Folks,
I've decided to switch from an Opteron/DFI based systems to Conroe/Intel. The main motivations for the switch are based on facts and some measure of speculation. I hope some of you who are first time Intel users like me will find this small write-up a bit helpful. I will try to be as detailed as possible and explain my choices but noting down what was going through my mind as I choose the components.

Since I am by no means an expert, maybe some of the real experts like Gautam, Ross, Mike, Crimedog, Joe Camel and Fishy (to name a very few) can drop in with some advice.

Current availability JULY 14,2006 (updated daily):
CPU: XE6800's are available, $1300+
MoBos: ASUS 975X P5W DH DELUXE, 975BX "Bad Axe" revision 304 available at Frys
(Thanks to Gautam and green), Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3, DFI 975X Infinity, ASRock 775Twins-HDTV R2.0 (Ty >hyperlogik<),


Why the heck did I choose to leave/not-revert back to the Opteron/DFI/BH5 setup I had earlier, given that, my previous setup was by no means a slouch? To be honest, I was trying to get the same setup assembled together but these things stopped me.
  • Opty 165 was still ridiculously expensive several months after its release. $350 on an average. I expected the prices to drop a bit since AM2 should be out any time soon.
  • The DFI Expert and the regular SLI-DR's are expensive too. The combination of these two critical items took up a large chunk of my budget.
  • Well, I saw what Joe Camel and Gautam were doing with their ES chips :drool:, took speculative retail pricing into account and this is where I'm going to put my money.
  • I wanted to give DDR2 a shot and a mature Intel platform seemed to be the better choice.
  • Again, speculative arguments regarding crossfire working better on Intel boards have intrigued me. I've switched between ATi and NVidia quite often. I "may" go with ATi if the price on the x1900's drops below $400.
Conroe's architectural highlights :
  • 14 stage pipeline as opposed to the P4's 31 stage pipeline.
  • The concept of a "wider" pipeline which implied better throughput and efficiency. This means more instructions can be "issued/ retired" at the beginning/end of the pipeline. Ross has a very nice explanation on how all this ties up. You can find it HERE.
  • It's a dual core chip :)
  • 32 x 2 kB L1 cache, 4Mb L2 cache, which is dynamically shared (very interesting!)

Current information:
  • 965 Chipset has no Crossfire support as of now. If you wish for CF, go with the 975X chipset based boards. Link
  • Several websites report the ETA as July (Dev-hardware, and tg-daily) to name a few.
  • Hyperlogik has pointed me to the new ASRock board which supports both DDR and DDR2! You can find the specs on the ASRock site
  • Conroe is a desktop LGA775 chip, while the Merom is a true Laptop (S479) chip. From currently available information, it is not slated to come out in DTR varieties. However, architecturally, they are identical.
  • There is no information on major enthusiast MoBo makers trying to support Merom on what would be an exotic platform.
  • Estimated pricing and Retail model information (provided by Ross):
    E4200 2MB 1.60GHz 800MHz FSB Q4 $169. us
    E6100 2MB 1.33GHz 1066MHz FSB Q1 2007 $149. us (35 Watts)*

    E6200 2MB 1.60GHz 1066MHz FSB Q4 $179. us
    E6300 2MB 1.86GHz 1066MHz FSB Q3 $209. us
    E6400 2MB 2.13GHz 1066MHz FSB Q3 $239. us
    E6500 2MB 2.40GHz 1066MHz FSB Q4 $269. us

    E6600 4MB 2.40GHz 1066MHz FSB Q3 $350. us (65 Watts)
    E6700 4MB 2.67GHz 1066MHz FSB Q3 $529. us

    Intel Conroe XE 65nm Dual Core
    E6800 4MB 2.93GHz 1066MHz FSB Q4 $1300. us
  • Chipsets which currently support the Conroe are: 975X and 965
  • Some of these have been heavily modded by the users to enable support. If you buy any (except the Intel BadAxe 975 rEV 304) based board, do not hope it will work with the retail CPU. They are non-compliant. Your best option is to wait. :) The offical chipsets are the 965, 985 and a new 975. Intel DX975XBX motherboard/975X chipset, Aopen i975Xa-YDG (Merom Only,not Conroe). Link to the Vmod
  • I would like a definitive answer on why older boards with the same socket don't/can't support Conroe? Is the fixable by a simple VMod?
    Ross answers:
    Hard mods are documented (for the Intel board at least), but they are certainly not "simple". It requires soldering SMTs and given the fact most people can't do a relatively easy Vdroop or Vddr mod without trashing a board, soldering SMTs to the board will be well beyond all except professional circuit board builders/repairers with the right equipment/skills. Might as well buy the correct board (with the right VRM to boot) instead of frying your board trying to make it work and having to buy a new one anyway :D

    Point of the matter is DO NOT BUY A 975 BOARD now and expect it to work with Conroe at all. I'll still be leery after Conroe is released unless the specs specifically say it works with "Core" or whatever they plan to say.

    Even brand new 975 boards being released right now are not Conroe-ready. My working theory on this is that manufacturers were originally expecting to have til the end of the year to get Conroe 975 boards ready and probably already had non-Conroe 975s in the works when Intel stepped up the release date. My guess is that they will not offer Conroe-ready boards until the very last second in the hopes of unloading current runs/stock in the meantime. So, I am doubting very much we'll see any 975 Conroe boards before Conroe at all. 965s, maybe a little earlier since they will all be new boards and assuming manufacturers are not behind in production of them since they probably had to "rush".

    965 (and presumably new 975) boards will have the ICH8R Southbridge in addition to the VRM 11 package. The ICH8R Southbridge looks like it's supporting a single IDE channel, so start replacing all your PATA drives soon :) Some new boards will have digital clock generators (not common/available at all now?). Those *should* achieve a noticeably higher stable OCs than PLL-based clock gens. Some will have more power phases (7-8 instead of 3-4). I am not sure on the 985s yet since there's not a lot of info on them.
  • Preliminary Conroe v/s Merom ES benchmarks can be found HERE. Conroe edges out Merom on all the CPU tests despite being clocked a lot higher (2966 MHz v/s 1369 MHz). However, in the memory benchmarks, Merom falls behind in almost every test.
  • NVidia have the NF590 in the wings. But, thus far, NV Intel chipsets have been poor performers with numerous stability issues. So, I'm not really waiting for the NV chipset.
Chipset information:
  1. 975X (From Intel's tech docs, all documents and pictures belong to Intel Inc.):
  • 1066-/800-MHz System Bus
  • Support for the Pentium D and EE in addition to the P4, P4HT
  • Integrated HD Audio, SATA II support
  • PCI-E x16 or 2x8
  • DDR2 Intel® Flex Memory Technology (Facilitates easier upgrades by allowing different memory sizes to be populated and remain in dual-channel mode). :thup:
  • Chipset diagram:

Harware shopping list:

a. For the budget conscious:
  • CPU: E6200 - E6400
  • MoBo:
  • PSU: Silverstone Zeus 560W (SST-56ZF) .............$115 from HERE
  • DRAM: OCZ Gold (1Gb)
  • VIDEO: EVGA 7600GT......... $149.99 AR at newegg.
  • Optical
  • HDD's
  • Cooling:
b. For the Mid-range folks:
  • CPU: E6500-E6600
  • MoBo: Gigabyte 965X GA-965P-DS3, ASUS 965X P5B
  • DRAM: OCZ Gold (2Gb), Team Group PC6400 (1Gb), Corsair XMS PC6400 (1Gb)
  • PSU: Silverstone Zeus 560W (SST-56ZF), OCZ Powerstream 510 SLI (~$110), Seasonic [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]SS-600HT ($135.00), Fortron Epsilon GLN-FX600 ($138).[/SIZE][/FONT]
  • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Video: eVGA 7900GT ($259.99 AR on Newegg), Sapphire x1900GT (~$260)[/SIZE][/FONT]
  • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Optical[/SIZE][/FONT]
  • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]HDD's[/SIZE][/FONT]
  • [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Cooling
c. High End folks:
  • CPU: E6600-E6800
  • MoBo: ASUS P5W Deluxe, Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
  • DRAM: Corsair PC2 1000
  • PSU: Emax/Zippy [FONT=Arial, Helvetica] PSL-6701P ($280), [/FONT]EMACS 2U 600W EPS-12V Power Supply (Model #: P2M-6600P, $192)*, PCP&C SilentX for $150 !!!
  • VIDEO: Pick your poison CF or SLI (with hacked drivers only)
  • Optical
  • HDD's
  • Cooling
*Server PSU's are not ATX size. They are on an average about 9 inches long. All the listed PSU's can handle x1900xt CF and some. They also, DO NOT HAVE A POWER SWITCH!

I'll be listing a few boards here and eventually cut the list down to a few of choices. The others will be kept aside with appropriate warnings.

*Comments to follow under each manufacturer heading, with brief product reviews.*


A through list of available and soon to be available motherboards, one which is way more comprehensive than this compilation can be found HERE. THIS thread by Ross is an excellent read.

P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP: (965) No CF
- Intel LGA775 Platform
- Intel® Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo Ready
- Intel® Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 / Celeron® D Ready
- Dual-channel DDR2 800/667/533
- AI NOS™ / AI Gear / AI Nap
- 8 Phase Power Design
- Fanless Design - Heat Pipe & Stack Cool 2
- Array Mic / Noise Filter
- WiFi-AP Solo

P5B: (965) No CF link- Intel LGA775 Platform
- Intel® Core™2 Extreme / Core(tm)2 Duo Ready
- Intel® Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 / Celeron® D Ready
- 1066/800/ 533 MHz
- Dual-channel DDR2 800/667/533
- 1x PCI Express x16
- 6x SATA 3Gb/s
- 8-channel HD Audio
- AI NOS / AI Gear / AI Nap

P5W DH Deluxe: (975X)
ASUS Digital Home Series - LGA775 socket for Intel Core2 Duo, Core2 Extreme and next generation Mulit-Core CPU
- Intel 975X +Intel ICH7R
- 1066/800MHz
- Dual-channel DDR2 800/667/ 533 max 8GB
- 2 x PCI-E x 16 / 2 x PCI-E x 1/ 3 x PCI
- Support ATI CrossFire graphics cards
- Intel Matrix Storage technology
- Dual Gigabit LAN
- Dolby Master Studio technology
- ASUS EZ-Backup
- ASUS Digital Home features
Retails for $250.

This is the board I bought. Components are high quality. All caps are Panasonic or United-Chemicon. There are 4 spots where one could add caps (1000 uF and 6300 uF , 6.3V). I plan to add Panasonic, Rubycon or Nichion caps at those spots. Currently testing a good 'ol Presscot, loaned to me by Xaotic (thanks mate!).

6 new boards and their details can be found, here.



Infinity 975X is available on newegg for $250 A bit too high priced for a "budget Infinity series" :rolleyes:

975X Platinum
There seems to be a lot of chatter about a digital PLL being used, instead of caps. So this should be very interesting.

775Twins-HDTV R2.0 (Thanks to >Hyperlogik<)
  • LGA 775 for Intel® Dual Core Pentium® XE / Pentium® D and Pentium® 4 / Celeron® D, supporting Core™ 2 Duo Desktop (Conroe), Presler and Cedar Mill processors
  • ATI™ Radeon® Xpress 200 Chipset
  • ULi 1573 Chipset
  1. Supports FSB1066/800/533MHz processor, EM64T CPU and H-T Technology
  2. Supports DDRII667 (DDRII x 2 DIMMs) and DDR400 (DDR x 2 DIMMs) with max. capacity respectively up to 4GB and 2GB
  3. DirectX 9.0 on board VGA, Pixel Shader 2.0, Max. shared memory 128MB
  4. Integrated ATi X300-based 2D/3D graphics
  5. Hybrid Booster - Safe Overclocking Technology
  6. PCI Express x 16 slot
  7. PCI Express x 1 slot
  8. 4 ports of SerialATA 1.5Gb/s, support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD, 2 ATA133 IDE ports
  9. 7.1 channel with High Definition Audio, 10/100 Ethernet LAN
  10. Windows Vista™ Basic logo Hardware Ready
  11. HD 8CH I/O: 4 ready-to-use USB ports, 7.1 channel audio jacks

The new Gigabyte board looks promising as well. LINK
  1. Supports Intel® Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo / Intel® Pentium® D processor
  2. First Quad BIOS solution for Multiple protection
  3. Supports new generation Microsoft operation system Windows VISTA
  4. Industry's first All-Solid capacitor motherboard design
  5. Unique 0dB cooling design with Crazy Cool and Silent-Pipe
  6. Quad Triple phase power design for ultimate system stability
  7. Dual PCI-E graphics interface for extreme gaming performance
  8. Supports high performance Dual Channel DDR2 800 memory
  9. Features SATA 3Gb/s with Quad eSATA 2 interface
  10. Home theater quality 8-channel High Definition Audio
  11. Supports both Dolby and DTS high quality audio functions.
  12. Optimized PCI-E Gigabit LAN and IEEE 1394 connection
  13. Ready for next generation Quad Core processor
A few words about this board are in order. This "budget" board seems to have the best value for money at the moment.It scales higher than that ASUS P5W-DH in terms of FSB and costs $100 less! However, there are a few things you should know before blindly concluding that this is the ASUS killer. First off, the ASUS board comes bundled with everything including the kitchen sink. The accessories themselves would hold an easy $50 in value. When you look at the higher scores obtained by the GB boards, the theory doing the rounds is that at lower FSB, the chipset latencies are tighter than ASUS. However, at higher FSB, the difference between these two boards in minimal. In any case, both are well worth the money. It just depends on whether you want the kitchen sink or not.










From Gautam's first hand experience with an x1900xtx CF setup, he say's the Emax/Zippy [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1] PSL-6701P is a great choice. You can find it for $280.00 at servercase.com. The 600W model retails for $215.00 and the 650W retails for $230.00. These are server PSU's and do not have split 12V rails. Intel will soon be updating their PSU requirements standards. If I'm not mistaken, they have already come out with a BTX standard. From the article on SPCR, Intel are tacitly waiving the split 12V rail standard already. Most of the articles I read said it was a bad idea to split the 12V rail.
Zippy have dedicated gaming models with a SINGLE 12V rail. The ones I'm looking at are the [/SIZE][/FONT]Gaming‧PSL-6720P(G1) and PSL-600P(G1).

FSP are my personal favourites. All my PSU's till date have been Fortron. I have NEVER had a problem with them. One rarely gets to hear about a Fortron blowing up in your face. I would like to stick with the Epsilon series. The FSP Eplsilon GLN600 powered my fully overclocked Opty 165 and 2x6800GS SLI along with a host of other components, with 120mm fans and the 12V WC pump. I had no problems. The GLN600 retails for $139.99 and the GLN700 retails for $178.99. I am seriously looking at the GLN-700. In the future, this will have to power up a CF or SLI system. I am not confident that any of the available PSU's from FSP will handle a fully OC'd rig with x1900xt CF.
They have a support forum HERE

O.k, this unit looks to be a killer for the price. Absolutely fantastic if it holds up! It can be purchased at axentmicro. The specs are HERE
PWS-0056 PS2 650W PWS . Check out my review in the PSU section. This is a good unit and is dirt cheap for the price.
Now that we know OCZ units are manufactured by Fortron, it would be wise to go with the cheaper of the two. :)

Home run with this unit! Check out the price folks, superb value for money, given PCP&C's excellent track record with PSU's! Ultra Quiet Silencer EPS12V $159 The PDF Spec sheet.



I am seriously considering the [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]SS-600HT which retails for $135.00 on servercase.com . Once I find a few good reviews, I'll update this note.[/SIZE][/FONT]

Benchmarks and Results:

Ross has benchmarked the Conroe on two different motherboards, i.e the ASUS 975X P5W-D and the Intel "BADAXE". His thread can be found HERE.
A few good articles worth a read are as follows; Digit-life's in depth benchmarks, Digit life on exclusive game benchmarks, Origins of Conroe's architecture. A very interesting read about transistor, package and process characterization employed by Intel can be found on Chipworks .

On an average, these results are to be expected on air.
CPU Type
Stock @
SPi 1M :
SPi 32M :
3DM05 :
3DM01 :
3DM06 :
PCMark :
Sandra BW :
Everest BW :
Sciencemark :

Overclocked @

SPi 1M :
SPi 32M :
3DM05 :
3DM01 :
3DM06 :
PCMark :
Sandra BW :
Everest BW :
Sciencemark :

External Reviews :

Here we have the obligatory reviews from other forums. Some of them are unbiased, yet others scream "fanboy". I leave it upto individual judgement to decide upon this. Use them judiciously. I have not recorded individual results, just formal forum reviews.
Last edited:


May 2, 2005
Seattle, WA
Well, good luck picking up an ES. They're not for general consumption as of yet. There are a ridiculous # of ES running around atm but they will carry a very heavy price tag if anyone is actually willing to part with them.
Super Nade

Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Aug 30, 2004
Santa Barbara, CA
This isn't about procuring an ES. The results achieved by the folks running an ES has influenced my choice in switching over to Intel.


Feb 1, 2002
Super Nade said:
This isn't about procuring an ES. The results achieved by the folks running an ES has influenced my choice in switching over to Intel.

YES!!! Welcome Brother :rolleyes:


May 2, 2005
Seattle, WA
I guess I am confused as to the point of this thread then. It is pretty well established that conroes arch is simply better than K8 and netbu(r)st. Ars wrote a nice article detailing the arch some time ago. http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/core.ars/4 Not trying to thread crap or anything but the information is and has been out there for some time for anyone with the slightest inkling of curiosity.


Mar 31, 2006
traitor..... first leaving AMD and then Nvidia...... i am ashamed *pretends to hide the fact that bobthemoo is tempted to do exactly the same* :p


Senior Spellcheck
Dec 8, 2005
Well, there are some issues he is talking about putting here in the future that you just can't do yet.
He wants to make RETAIL buying desisions on the chip, mobo, and ram (and the reasons behind those) and Im guessing he wants us to help with this with the homework Ive been doing over the last 6 months.. I guess I can quit reading this board untill he's done with this thread ;)
And retail OCing results.
soooo.. the most important purpose of the thread isnt possible just yet.
No retail chips
No retail overclocking motherboard
and the Ram is a big? right now for me anyway (yea there are a couple of good chocies but I think its still a what's going to be on the market here in a month to make the final decision)
How conroe performs has little to do with this in my mind..
by the way.. ATI and NV doesnt matter unless your going multi-card.. if your sticking to single card it doesnt matter.


Senior Spellcheck
Dec 8, 2005
veryhumid said:
Is there a set release schedule for the various conroe models yet?


When you dig up all the info that is already available SN please put it in the first post :D

Ross would have been a great resorce to get all this info via PM pre thread.

most models July (EE and a low grade chip december and january) the next arch is close on the heals, march 07
Super Nade

Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Aug 30, 2004
Santa Barbara, CA
Well, the point of this thread is to serve as some sort of a starting point for someone with no prior knowledge of the Intel side of things. Tke me for example, I don't really have a clue regarding the subtilties in choosing components for an Intel based setup.

This short writeup should serve as a quick-setup guide with emphasis on the thought process involved in making pertinent component selections. Hope this answers your question. If you already know about this, please share your expertise. :)

Can't parse the sarcasm mate.

It's called knowing which side of my toast has been buttered. :D


I'm performing DDOS attacks on Gautam and Ross' pm boxes. Thanks for the tip :D


Senior RAM Pornographer
Mar 3, 2005
Jacksonville, FL
I'm a noob to Intel as well and I plan to switch to Conroe.

My questions are:

Is Conroe out yet (if yes, linkage)?

What mobo should I be getting and which one is best performing (linkage)?


Oct 13, 2005
Conroe will release in July... as for mobos, the new ATI chipset might be good, but I've only heard one comment on it. For me, the mobo is the biggest question, but we still have a while to go.

btw - the intel "badaxe" (the new revision) is the only board that currently supports conroe due to it needing the proper power requirements met on the board. Search around if you need more info, I'm a poor source for mobo stuff:D.


Senior Spellcheck
Dec 8, 2005
Retail chips: July so no linkage
GOOD overclocking motherboard: not here yet no linkage

Chipsets-all those new to Intel, hold out no hope for any chipsets not made by intel to be top performers.
i975X with VRM11 only the badaxe rev. 304 and higher right now not the best OCer, i965P and the future (around Dec.) 985 chipsets are what to look for as of right now.
Super Nade

Super Nade

† SU(3) Moderator  †
Aug 30, 2004
Santa Barbara, CA
AFAIK, the 975 based boards do not support Conroe. So, we have NO MoBo's and CPU's in the retail channel which fully support Conroe.


Senior Benchmark Addict
Feb 4, 2003
SF Bay Area
The 975 boards WILL support Conroe. The intel 975BX "Bad Axe" revision 304 is already available at Fry's and supports Conroe.


Senior Spellcheck
Dec 8, 2005
Gautam said:
The 975 boards WILL support Conroe. The intel 975BX "Bad Axe" revision 304 is already available at Fry's and supports Conroe.

Yes.. but I wouldn't call it the best of what's comming; Oh, please tell me we will get better then that :eek: ;)

i975X mobos just need to update the VRM hardware to the VRM 11 standard and they will be a :thup: for conroe :beer:


Senior Intel-lectual
May 20, 2002
14 stage pipeline as opposed to the P4's 30 stage pipeline.
31 stage on Prescott/Presler/CM. Small correction since it's long enough in either case ;)

The concept of a "wider" pipeline which implied better throughput and efficiency. This means more instructions can be "issued/ retired" at the beginning/end of the pipeline. As for how this actually increases bandwidth, I'll update this as I gather more information
The higher IPC, macrofusion and whatnot in and of itself may increase efficiency of the theoretical maximum bandwidth use, but the theoretical maximum bandwidth is still solely attributed to FSB. Conroe does get an FSB bump over P4 (800->1066FSB) so it will have a higher max (by default at least).

Max bandwidth = freq * bus width (bits) / 8 (convert to bytes).

P4 800FSB = 800 x 64-bit/8 == 6.4 GB/s
Conroe 1066FSB = 1066 x 64-bit/8 == 8.52 GB/s
Woodcrest (server) 1333FSB = 1333 x 64-bit/8 == 10.66 GB/s
OCed 1600FSB = 1600 x 64-bit/8 == 12.8 GB/s

FSB is the key performance factor on Intels thanks to the fact that like everything on the board runs through it, especially the mem. Take a 3.6GHz P4 @ 300FSB and 3.6GHz P4 at 200FSB. Same clocks, but the 300FSB one will blow the other out of the water.

What will remain to be seen is if Conroe/Conroe mobos will be able to clock as high or higher than P4 boards for FSB. Conroe has the low multis to run insane FSB and at least some Conroe boards will have a digital clock generator instead of the age old PLL chip, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

32 x 2 kB L1 cache, 4Mb L2 cache, which is dynamically shared (very interesting!)
Lots of L2 is Intel's Band Aid for the FSB limit and no IMC (that will change). The shared dynamic feature is pretty killer though. Dual core is the way to go for pretty much everything, but you really see the difference between current single core Intels and dual cores benching say 3Ds compared to SPi. P4 single cores wipe the floor with current dual cores because the L2 are independent. Single-threaded apps like SPi thus can only use 1/2 the available L2 (attached to one core) on dual cores. Meroms and Conroe whip in SPi's just as well as everything else because in single threaded apps, one core can use 100% of the L2 that's there because of the dynamic/shared setup. Even multi-threaded apps, current dual cores have to go back out to the front side bus to access the other core/L2, that also won't be such an issue with the shared cache. Lots of data can be stored in the big L2 and either core can access it at will.

This is still about my favorite link for comparing Conroe to P4s (and Yonah) to get an idea just how different they are.

And this one is good to compare Conroe against K8.

Core whitepaper does a pretty good job of explaining Conroe features.

We have a small cache of Conroe-related links/documents in this thread.