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Intel Corp. on Tuesday officially put the wraps off the world’s first 65nm x86 microprocessor that was previously known under Presler code-name. The new chip utilizes the company’s NetBurst architecture and offers only a slight performance improvement compared to the dual-core chips made using 90nm fabrication process, still, the new product allowed Intel to claim victory over to-date fastest offering from Advanced Micro Devices.

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition model 955 operates at 3.46GHz and utilizes 1066MHz processor system bus as well as 4MB of cache in total, or 2MB per core. The new chip supports Hyper-Threading technology for both cores thus allowing execution of up to four software threads simultaneously. The new chip also features Intel virtualization technology as well as other platform innovations, such as EM64T, EDB and iAMT2. The new chip is only compatible with mainboards based on Intel 975X chipset.

The fundamental difference between Presler and its predecessor, Smithfield, design is separate processing engines located on a single piece of substrate, whereas in case of Smithfield the cores were integrated into a monolithic piece of silicon.

The new manufacturing process and new method of dual-core implementation should allow Intel Corp. to make dual-core processors more cost-efficiently, which will eventually provide the company an ability to offer more appealing pricing on those chips. Nevertheless, despite of the fact that the 65nm process technology is supposed to allow significantly higher clock-speeds compared to 90nm, Intel does not currently plan to bring dual-core Presler processors with frequency higher than 3.46GHz onto the market. Still, even with improvements in clock-speed, cache size and PSB frequency the new Extreme Edition processor manages to compete with AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 rather successfully.

“Pentium Extreme Edition 955 is not an eternal loser in the dual-core duel anymore. There are a lot of applications where Pentium Extreme Edition 955 managed to defeat AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+, the top dual-core solution from Intel’s competitor. In fact, AMD processor remains the leader only in gaming applications, in professional OpenGL tasks and a few codecs,” said X-bit labs analyst Ilya Gavrichenkov in article called “First Look at Presler: Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 CPU Review”.

The new chip is expected to be available shortly at the price of $999 in 1000-unit quantities.


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