by Anton Shilov
02/27/2003 | 08:03 PM
Intel is well-known among computer hardware enthusiasts for its constant changes of slots, sockets and other specifications of its microprocessors and platforms that hinder end users from upgrading their computers without need to buy a new mainboard for a new CPU. We all know how Slot 1 440LX-based mainboard became obsolete when Intel introduced Slot 1 440BX that was then replaced by FC-PGA 370 for Coppermine chips that was out spaced by FC-PGA 370 for Tualtin CPUs. We do not need to remind the owners of the first Pentium 4 processors about the move from Socket 423 to Socket 478 a year and 500MHz after the introduction. We also will not tell you about power consumption of 3.06GHz Pentium 4 chip that should be installed on the same Socket 478 mainboards, but made according to new design guidelines and based on newer chipsets with Hyper-Threading support. Do you think that Intel will give you, hardware enthusiasts, a rest for, at least, 1.5 years? No! Next year Intel plans to bring us new Socket T for its Prescott and Tejas processors, according to The Inquirer.
Next year the Santa Clara, California-based giant will release its new code-named Grantsdale chipsets and also introduce new processor packages. Reportedly Intel will utilise the so-called Socket T, LGA-775 package (LGA, land grid array) for future Prescott and Tejas chips to be launched in 2004. One of the most compelling motivations for using LGA socketing technology is the interconnection density that is achievable. Simply it will be cheaper and easier for Intel to use LGA instead of traditional socketing techniques in case of the high-end complex microprocessors next year.
It is reported that Grantsdale platform will support DDR-II SDRAM 533MHz and will be launched sometimes after Prescott launch. Unfortunately, there are still concerns about DDR-II availability in early 2004, so, we cannot be so sure that Intel may actually start delivering the platform in the first half of the year. The second half does looks more logical in this case. We learnt earlier that Prescott processors will utilise 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus eventually (see February 14, 2003 news-story), so, the platform with dual-channel DDR-II SDRAM 533MHz support will definitely be required. We also already know that Tejas-supporting platform will be fully based on PCI-Express technology (see February 20, 2003 news-story) and accompanied by ICH6 I/O controller that is set to come in April 2004 (see October 28, 2002 news-story). In short, massive availability of the platform depends on a lot of factors.
We can make an assumption that Intel will have two platforms for the Prescott processors next year. One will be Socket 478 platform unveiled in the first half of 2003 for CPUs with 800MHz QPB, another will be launched in 2004 (no precise information when exactly) and will be much more innovative and powerful. I believe that Socket T will be utilised for 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus-supporting chips, though, nothing can stop Intel from canceling the Socket 478 platform after certain clock-rate is achieved and force enthusiasts to buy new mainboards.
Remember that all roadmaps are subject to change without notice.