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Intel Corp. recently announced that its latest code-named Presler processors will be updated in the second quarter of the year to support technologies that reduce overall power consumption. This will potentially allow systems based on the updated chips to be quieter compared to computers shipping today using the same 65nm microprocessors.

The current SL94N stepping of Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 processor as well as SL94P, SL94Q, SL94R and SL94S steppings of Intel Pentium D 900-series processors  do not support enhanced Halt state (C1E), a capability that allows operating system to halt the processor when it is not needed, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST), a feature that dynamically reduces clock-speed by 200MHz increments when the load is not high, and Thermal Monitoring 2 (TM2), a technology that reduces processor’s voltage to minimum and clock-speed to 2.80GHz in order to keep the chip cool enough in conditions when the processor becomes too hot.

Both C1E and EIST technologies are meant to reduce central processing unit’s (CPU’s) power consumption and temperature, which, in case of most systems, means that cooling fans will reduce their speed and noise in cases when high processor performance is not required. For users it means that desktop processors made by Intel using 65nm process technology that are available today not only always run at full-speed causing maximum possible noise all the time, but in case of overheating will apply thermal throttling mechanism significantly reducing performance. The consequence of such situation is that computers utilizing the aforementioned chips should have their cooling systems always on, which may cause excessive noise in some cases. Still, since 65nm processors consume slightly less compared to 90nm counterparts, highest performance coolers may not be required in all situations.

According to an Intel Corp.’s document, Intel Pentium D 900-series “Presler” processors (steppings QKDH, QJZB, QJYZ, QJYX, SL8WS, SL8WR, SL8WQ, SL8WP) will obtain both Enhanced Halt State and EIST capabilities in the Q2 2006, whereas the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 (steppings QJYW, SL8WM) will get C1E technology during the same timeframe.

The older dual-core Intel Pentium D 800-series processors with 2MB of cache support all of the aforementioned technologies including EIST, C1E and TM2 with the exclusion of the model 820 that does not support EIST. The Pentium Extreme Edition 840 chip with 2MB supports C1E state, but does not support EIST and TM2. The newer Intel Pentium D 900-series dual-core CPUs feature 4MB of cache and/or higher maximum clock-speeds compared to predecessors, thus, higher performance overall.

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