Dual-Core Pentium 4 “Prescott” Processors on the Horizon [UPDATED]

Intel Plans Dual-Core NetBurst Chips

by Anton Shilov
06/10/2004 | 03:15 PM

UPDATE: A representative for Intel Corporation told X-bit labs the company had never released any precise details in regards the dual-core strategy. The information published herein should not be considered as based on official statements.

 

Intel Corporation may release dual-core Pentium 4 “Prescott” processors in late 2005, a report over Geek.com web-site claims. If the information is correct, the roadmap of the world’s largest manufacturer of central processing units gets completely reshuffled once again.

Dual-Core Prescott Spotted

At the Intel/PC Magazine-sponsored Technology for Business Today seminar in Washington, D.C., Intel representatives discussed the present and future of computers touching upon the modern and next-generation microprocessors. The firm’s officials reiterated the company’s plans to issue dual-core processors in 2005 and even shed some light on the technical information about the chips. Apparently, the desktop processors will continue to utilize the NetBurst architecture and at this point such central processing units are referred as dual-core Prescott microprocessors. Mobile dual-core chips will have architecture similar to that of the Pentium M products available today. Such products may also find themselves in desktops, though, the premier performance will be offered only by dual-core NetBurst products.

The information about dual-core Prescott processors fully modifies everything that has been reported about the future of Intel’s processors during the most recent weeks. Because of rising power consumption of the new Pentium 4 chips it was believed that Intel would withdraw from the NetBurst in favour of more efficient Pentium M architecture.

Four 64-bit Microprocessors?

Intel reportedly said that with the HyperThreading technology enabled operating systems will report availability of four microprocessors into the system when a single dual-core Prescott is installed. Representatives also confirmed that future Prescott products will feature 64-bit capability.

Concerns over Power Consumption

As reported numerous times, because of certain issues with Intel’s 90nm fabrication process, actual chips made using it heat pretty well presumably as a result of power leakage processes. Power leakage is current flowing in a circuitry that is not being used at the moment. While the problem has been around for decades, it became dramatically serious with Intel’s Pentium 4 E processors known as Prescott. The high-end Prescott chips dissipate 103W today and will increase the figure towards 115W later during the year.

In early May 2004 the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker canned two of its desktop and server projects code-named Tejas and Jayhawk because of emphasizing the dual-core chips. It was believed that in 2005 Intel would come up with dual-core processors that feature more power-economical architecture. In case the information reported now is correct, both products were struck out because of dual-core Prescott-based products.

In case Intel does not seriously redesign its existing microprocessors and tweak its fabrication process, including possible change of dielectrics, power consumption of the future Pentium processors will be in the range of 200W, which is hard to cool-down using traditional methods and also hard to feed with energy. Mainboard makers concerned about power usage by current Prescott chips and are not likely to be satisfied with numbers about two times higher compared to those now.

NetBurst or P6? Both!

Earlier Intel’s spokesperson said that “2005 will be a great year for Intel” because dual-core chips “are great for customers”. Intel is emphasizing that the idea to come up with dual-core chips in 2005 goes from the discovery that the company is able to deliver such products earlier than it thought originally. What the company also stresses is that the new dual-core chips will have the same platform requirements as cancelled Tejas – this is important for mainboard makers and system integrators, who will not have to change their existing designs and spend additional R&D money.

The real questions about Intel’s vision of the future come when we remember about the technologies the Tejas was expected to bring according to various sources: Vanderpool – a technology that splits personal computer into several virtual parts that work independently and use the same resources of the PC, LaGrande – a universal security feature that protects confidential information on the PC. While there might be more capabilities to enter with the Tejas, the Vanderpool, LaGrande and 64-bit capability that is available on Prescott were the most important to come to life with the Tejas, some unofficial sources noted.

Typically chipmakers consider various roads to go and it looks like Intel’s engineers were thinking really hard about the future of the dual-core NetBurst or dual-core P6 plans. At the end, the company decided to offer microprocessors with the highest possible performance featuring NetBurst architecture, while the P6 will make way into less powerful desktops and high-performance notebooks.

What We Do Know Just Now

Before Intel finally officially unveils its official and precise visions of the future, let us summarize once again what we do know from unofficial sources about the next-generation desktop microprocessors from Intel:

Previously Intel had never had two desktop architectures going forward – typically all chipmakers try to unify the products. However, with unprecedented market expansion and requirements for extreme performance amid low consumption of power, the company may have to use two different architectures for different clients.

A spokesman for Intel Corporation denied that the source of the story reported based on the claims made by Intel's officials. All the information in the news-story should not be considered as official.