Articles: CPU

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If Intel is planning to start producing desktop and server dual-core processors with the 90nm technological process, then in the mobile segment they are first going to mast the finer 65mn production technology. In fact, this is not at all surprising, Intel doesn’t have to rush anywhere in the mobile market. The current Pentium M architecture makes all Intel’s customers pretty happy, as it demonstrates high performance and low heat dissipation. Nevertheless, next mobile platform from Intel aka Napa will be based on a dual-core CPU with Pentium M architecture.

In fact, Intel is going to push dual-core processors into the mobile market for completely different reasons than those that inspired them to go into the desktop and server segments with their dual-core architecture. This is another reason why there is no rush with the development of the dual-core mobile solutions. The major goals set for the dual-core mobile solution developers are lower heat dissipation and higher functionality of these processors.

The first dual-core notebook CPUs known as Yonah will be released in the end of 2005-beginning of 2006. They will be based on Pentium M cores, although they will be not just a simple concatenation of the Dothan cores modified taking into account the potential of the new production technology. Unlike all other dual-core processors, Yonah will have shared 2MB L2 cache memory for both. This way, Yonah developers do not face any cache coherency problems.

In order to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation, the new Yonah processor will support special technology, which will allow disabling one of the cores in case the processor load is low. This feature will make Yonah a very economical CPU, even more economical than the today’s Pentium M on Dothan core. In fact, the second Yonah core will join the first working core only when the CPU workload reaches its peak, which is not going to happen that often. Of course, this technology will not eliminate the support of Intel Enhanced SpeedStep: Yonah will also support it. The heat dissipation of these processors should stay below 40W, while the core frequency will exceed 2.0GHz. Moreover, Intel promises that Yonah will boast LaGrande and Vanderpool technologies as well, which should definitely enrich its functionality.

Since Yonah processors are still quite far away, there is not that much detailed technical info about them. For instance, we do not know their working frequencies. As for the physical die size, the info is also pretty vague still. The die size of the Yonah processors is expected to be about the same as that of the Dothan core, even though there will be the same amount of cache memory onboard, but the production technology used for the new solutions will be finer. The implementation of the shared cache memory and dynamic core disabling technologies is a pretty complicated task, therefore Yonah will have considerably more transistors than the today’s Dothan CPU.

The new mobile dual-core processor from Intel aka Yonah will arrive together with the entire new platform, including new Calistoga chipset and new wireless Golan component. This way the mobile Napa platform including Yonah processor will acquire DDR2-667 SDRAM and 667MHz processor bus support.

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