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Intel Corp. reportedly plans to accelerate its dual-core desktop roadmap by introducing its highly-anticipated Intel Pentium 4 800-series processors in the second quarter of the year, according to a report from a web-site. Additionally, the company may have plans to offer affordable dual-core chips which price is projected to start at $241.

An article over AnandTech web-site claims the world’s largest chipmaker Intel Corp. will bring the dual-core desktop chips originally code-named Smithfield a quarter earlier than expected – in the second quarter of 2005 – which may give the chip giant a competitive advantage over the arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices, who is expected to bring out its dual-core desktop products only in the second half of 2005. Furthermore, Intel’s dual-core products are claimed to be relatively affordable: $241, $316 or $530 – depending on the speed-bin and model – for 820 (2.80GHz), 830 (3.00GHz) or 840 (3.20GHz) chips respectively.

While dual-core chips may bring performance improvements to applications that rely on simultaneous execution of two threads as well as multi-tasking environments, software that depends on rapid execution of only one thread are likely to benefit from higher clock-speeds and large caches.

Intel’s dual-core chips for desktops originally code-named Smithfield are projected to be branded as Intel Pentium 4 processors 800-series, some sources suggest. Such products will have TDP of around 130W, while currently available infrastructure is designed to support processors with thermal design power of up to 115W, which will not allow the dual-core Pentium 4 800-series chips to operate with the vast majority of today’s mainboards, according to some makers. While some very advanced mainboards may support the Pentium 4 processors 800-series, such support is unlikely to be official. Furthermore, Intel’s i945- and i955X-series core-logic products are expected to bring certain performance enhancements, such as support for DDR2 667MHz memory.

It is expected that Intel’s dual-core desktop products will be launched along with i945- and i955X-series chipsets.

Initial Intel Pentium 800-series central processing units are likely to use 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus, integrate 2MB (1MB per core) L2 cache and utilize LGA775 form-factor. The dual-core desktop processor internally called Smithfield will be made using 90nm process technology, each processing engine will use the same architecture with the current Pentium 4 “Prescott” chip, however, the new central processing unit will feature “arbitration logic that will balance bus transactions between the two CPUs”. Smithfield’s die size is about 215 square millimeters.

Intel had reportedly decided to disable the Hyper-Threading technology with its dual-core desktop chips. This will allow the processors to handle two threads independently more efficiently than current chips do, however, if the chips feature HT tech, they would be able to handle up to four threads of code. The Smithfield will sport EM64T, Virtualization, XD bit as well as Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technologies.

Officials from Intel Corp. did not comment on the story.

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