Intel to Redesign Pentium 4 E Processors

Prescott to Receive New Stepping

by Anton Shilov
02/12/2004 | 07:37 PM

Intel Corporation confirmed its intention to redesign the core of the latest Pentium 4 processors made at 90nm nodes. The company’s clients will receive the improved versions of Intel’s code-named Prescott chips in late February, the company said.


The Pentium 4 processors with 1MB L2 cache on the 90nm process technology will undergo C-0 to the D-0 core processor stepping change. The fresh D-0 stepping will incorporate planned power optimizations to enable speed enhancements, something that Pentium 4 “Prescott” processors badly need these days.

Currently Pentium 4 2.80E and 3.00E microprocessors dissipate up to 89W of power, Pentium 4 3.20E and 3.40E dissipate up to 103W of heat. 0.13 micron Pentium 4 processors 2.80C, 3.00GHz and 3.20GHz have 69.7W, 81.9W, and 82W thermal guideline respectively.

Intel postponed the release of its Pentium 4 processors on the 90nm technology from Q2 2003 to Q1 2004 because of process related yield issues, Intel’s President and COO Paul Otellini indicated during a recent interview. By announcing stepping change, Intel either confirms previously said statement about troubles with process technology or indicates problems with Prescott design.

It is not absolutely clear what is actually negative about Intel’s new CPUs, but keeping in mind that Intel’s another 90nm processor code-named Dothan designed by the company’s developers in Israel and that has nothing to do with Prescott is also postponed, it is logical to suggest that there are fabrication technology or material-related issues. The issues presumably affect yields, ability to increase core-clock and heat dissipation/power consumption of the products.

According to Intel’s statement to partners, samples of the first D-0 stepping CPUs will be available on February 27, 2004, while qualification should be completed by April 23, 2004. Commercial chips based on the improved core will ship on the 7th of May. CPUID of the post-conversed CPUs will change from 0F33h to 0F34h, but the chips will remain pin-to-pin compatible.

The co said it will use D-0 core for Pentium 4 2.80E, 3.00E, 3.20E and 2.80A microprocessors, but is also likely to use it for some future chips as well. Intel is expected to ship its 90nm processors at 3.40GHz and 3.60GHz on March and in the Q2 respectively.