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Standing a few months behind the introduction of its first desktop dual-core microprocessors Intel Corp. does not think these chips will become massive this year. Nevertheless, the company is confident it would supply enough of such microprocessors to meet market demand.

Intel Smithfield – Not a Volume Chip

“In terms of volume and magnitude, it’s not going to be as significant as last year,” said Tom Kilroy, president of Intel Americas in an interview with CRN web-site, referring to last year’s Prescott and Northwood processor transitions.

“The one thing we’re sure to do is build enough parts to meet market demand,” Mr. Kilroy added.

Intel Corp. indicated plans to introduce dual-core microprocessors for desktops, servers and notebooks in mid-2004 and recently disclosed some details in regards the actual microprocessors for the mentioned applications.

Intel’s first family of dual-corechips for desktops originally code-named Smithfield will be sold as Intel Pentium D 800-series. Initial Intel Pentium D 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 processors 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.” All desktop dual-core chips are likely to sport EM64T, Virtualization, XD bit as well as Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technologies.

Intel is expected to disable the Hyper-Threading technology on its mainstream dual-core desktop chips, leaving the capability to process up to four threads simultaneously for its Pentium Extreme Edition chips that will feature two cores and will also use 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus to enhance speed of multimedia applications.

Smithfield’s die size is about 206 square millimeters, which is considered as too large for mainstream processors by analysts. Intel also does not seem to be pinning a lot of hopes on the Smithfield when it comes to volume.

Intel Presler – Intel’s First Mainstream Dual-Core?

The code-named Presler microprocessor is expected to be released sometimes in mid-2006 and will be made using 65nm process technology. The die size of the chip is projected to be around 140 square millimeters, which is inline with Intel’s historical size of mainstream chips. From the architectural standpoint, the Presler may be a shrunk version of the chip code-named Smithfield, Intel’s first dual-core desktop product, however, it may sport a lot of improvements over the current computing engines.

Given the timeframe for the Presler processor, it is likely to feature significant enhancements over the Smithfield.

Adding of security and virtualization capabilities will be performed in the course of Intel’s forthcoming platform enhancements. In 2005 Intel plans to advance personal computing – now called digital home and office – platforms with dual-core Smithfield processors with 2MB cache, Enhanced Intel Speed Step (EIST), EM64T, virtualization and iAMT features. A year later – in 2006 – Intel’s follow-up platforms will get LaGrande security technology, next-generation iAMT and next-generation dual-core processor produced using 65nm process technology.

Currently Intel refers its ‘05 digital home and office platform as Lyndon, while ‘06 platforms are called Bridge Creek and Averill.

Mobile, Server Dual-Core Chips to Follow in 2006, AMD May Not Be Enthusiastic About Desktop Dual Core Too

Intel’s dual-core Pentium M- and Xeon-like microprocessors are expected to hit the market only in 2006. Ironically, but server applications benefit from additional cores more significantly than consumer personal computers.

Intel’s arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices said it would introduce server dual-core AMD Opteron chips in mid-year and then follow with dual-core desktop intended AMD Athlon 64 microprocessors in the second half of the year. Being produced using 90nm process technology AMD’s dual-core desktop products are also unlikely to be mass already in 2005.


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