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Five or six years ago Intel and its partners said that the Willamette will be the last IA32 microprocessor. After the mentioned one, the IA64 would rise and rule the world, according to them. Well, it is now clear that the IA64 will not rule even the market of servers and workstations, at least, until 2003 or even 2004, not talking about earlier timeframes. Meanwhile x86 continues to live and develop. Apparently, the original Willamette core, that was planned by the team of developers and marketing specialists five or six years ago, was too big and too complex to be launched using 0.18 micron technology in late 2000, and the Santa Clara-based semiconductor maker had to remove some blocks from the CPU-core. Later Intel started to force the Pentium 4 with faster Quad Pumped Bus and with enlarged L2 cache. This year the company will add the Hyper-Threading technology to the desktop processors, in 2003, Intel will launch another addition to the Pentium 4 family code-named Prescott. The next step, the world’s largest chip manufacturer will take, as revealed by Japanese PC Watch, is the introduction of the most advanced Pentium 4 “Tejas” processor in the first half of 2004 and, by the end of 2004, Intel will bring us the brand new code-named Nehalem CPU. Both novelties are to be manufactured using 90nm technology.

Intel discussed their plans about Prescott processors at the IDF Fall this year and admitted that the CPU will have numerous differences compared to the current Pentium 4 processors. According to Intel, apart from the faster 667MHz Quad Pumped Bus, 1 MB of L2 cache and the Hyper-Threading technology, the newcomer will also include additional instruction sets, known as PNI – Prescott New Instructions (SSE3 or something?), that are proposed to further accelerate processing of streams. Intel Pentium 4 “Prescott” processors will appear in the third quarter 2003.

The successor of the Prescott will be the Tejas, the most advanced in the whole Pentium 4 family. It will bring a number of new instructions (TNI, Tejas New Instuctions) that will probably concern stream processing as well as the Hyper-Threading technology. It is also likely to feature 800MHz Quad-Pumped Bus and 1 to 2MB of L2 cache. Initially, it will be manufactured using 90nm technology, however, by the end of 2005, the die will be shrunk to 65nm.

Not a lot is known about the successor the whole Pentium 4 family code-named Nehalem. It is said that it will greatly expand the idea of the Hyper-Threading (see the news-story about Intel’s Modular processors), will feature the hardware security LaGrande technology and, as stated by the source, the Yamhill 64-bit extensions. It will still remain to be IA32, but with loads of architectural innovations, I believe. In the second half of 2004 the Nehalem will be made using 90nm manufacturing process, but in late 2005 or early 2006, the novelty will be transferred to thinner 65nm technology.

Since Intel’s architecture of microprocessors usually lives for about 4 or 5 years, we can expect the successors of the Nehalem to be on the market, at least, until 2008. As you may see, IA32 still has enough space to develop. Please note that with the introduction of Yamhill in 2004, Intel will take the step AMD plans to perform in early 2003 with their first x86-64 CPUs.

Please keep in mind that the information is unofficial.


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