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There are already no mobile microprocessors based on Intel Corp.’s NetBurst micro-architecture and by the end of the year neither desktop, nor mainstream server chips that are massively produced will use it. NetBurst chips for multi-processor (MP) servers will be produced for about a year from now, but transition to newer micro-architecture will be especially rapid even in conservative MP server market.

The NetBurst micro-architecture that powers chips like Intel Pentium 4 and its derivatives allowed Intel to innovate without many issues for nearly five years, from late-2000 to mid-2005. However, despite of rapid clock-speed increases, introduction of 64-bit extensions, virtual multi-threading technology and dual-core x86 processors; Intel was struggling to recapture performance crown from its arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices for three long years: from late-2003 to mid-2006. The reason for that was increasing power consumption of the Pentium chips, which was a consequence of the main advantage of the NetBurst: ability to operate at truly extreme clock-speeds.

NetBurst Begins: Intel Pentium 4 "Willamette" processor and Intel i850 chipset

Some documents from Intel Corp. seen by X-bit labs claims that there will be no NetBurst-based chips for desktops shipped (unless on special order) in Q4 2007, while even in Q3 their share of all processors made by Intel will be about 2.5%. As a result, by the end of the year all desktop chips supplied by Intel will use Core 2 micro-architecture, which was first introduced in mid-2006.

The vast majority – about 93% – of Intel Xeon processors for dual-processor (DP) servers that will be supplied during the current quarter are based on the Core 2 micro-architecture with only 7% featuring NetBurst. According to some documents from Intel Corp., quad-core Intel Xeon (Clovertown) processors will account for roughly 38% of DP server processors shipments in Q2, while dual-core Intel Xeon with new micro-architecture (Woodcrest) will command 55% of shipments. In Q1 2008 there will be no NetBurst based chips for DP servers supplied for mass channels, moreover, at that time quad-core chips will represent the majority of 2P server chips with 54% of processors being Intel Xeon “Clovertown” and roughly 25% being Intel Xeon “Harpertown”. The rest of shipments will consist of dual-core Intel Xeon “Woodcrest” and “Wolfdale” chips.

In the multi-processor server space the transition for the new micro-architecture will be complicated by co-transition to a new platform code-named Caneland. Nevertheless, after accounting for about 13% of Intel Xeon MP shipments in Q3 2007, the share code-named Tigerton processors will grow to 80% of Intel’s MP chip supplies in Q1 2008. Judging by very rapid increase in shipments of Tigerton, it is highly likely that by the end of Q2 2008 there will be no Intel NetBurst-based microprocessors shipped by the world's largest chipmaker, unless certain customers demand additional central processing units.

Intel officials did not comment on the news-story.


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