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There are a lot of controversy statements in respect of Intel’s 90nm process these days, as the company quietly pushed the release of its next generation Intel Pentium 4 with SSE3 aka Prescott processor into 2004. Some sources indicate that there are very bad problems with Intel’s 90nm Strained Silicon technology, while others tell us that there are no really tangible issues at all.

“…I think you are going to find out in the next month that Intel has a lot more design and production issues with Prescott than you or anyone else has disclosed so far...” an analyst who asked to keep him anonymous said last week, in a reply to our article entitled “Intel CPU Roadmap Changed: Tejas Postponed to 2005”.

A source close to Intel, also wishing to remain anonymous, claimed: “The issue is not with 90nm yields. I cannot say they are as good as the 0.13 micron process, but they are good. Intel in Portland has already made hundreds of thousands of 90nm Celeron processors and they are ready to go.  Just like they stated publicly, they will be shipping 90nm parts in volume in November or December this year…”

We do know that Intel Celeron processors manufactured at 90nm fabrication technology sport 256KB of L2 cache, 533MHz PSB, 2.80 or 3.06GHz core-clocks; while the first Intel Pentium 4 with SSE3 technology processors should boast with 1MB of L2, 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus and core-speeds from 2.80 to 3.40GHz. In general, Prescott Pentium 4 chips are a bit more complex than Celeron processors and may be harder to pump up the speed.

Historically Intel offered cut-down versions of its Pentium processors as Celeron CPUs; furthermore, there are a lot of assumptions about Intel selling its fully-featured Pentium cores with a part of cache and possibly something else disabled under Celeron brand-name. In case the claims about Celeron and Pentium identity are accurate, the mentioned 90nm Celeron parts allude to us that there are no major problems neither with Prescott design, nor with the 90nm Strained Silicon technology, at least, at 2.80 and 3.06GHz speeds.

Intel Celeron processors based on Prescott core may overclock easier than Pentium 4 processors because of lower complexity resulted in smaller cache size. But still this proves the statement about the absence of serious issues with Intel’s 90nm fabrication technology itself, but may point out that Intel’s new Pentium 4 chips may be inflexible in terms of gaining the core-speeds.


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