Intel Scraps Plans for 4.00GHz Desktop Microprocessors

Intel Axes Fastest Pentium 4 in Favour of More Functional Chips

by Anton Shilov
10/14/2004 | 02:00 PM

Intel Corp. said Thursday it decided to scrap plans to release the Pentium 4 processor clocked at 4.00GHz, continuing the sequence of product delays, cancellations and major changes of the roadmap. The reasons for the move were decision to focus on some other ways of improving performance and possible inability to supply enough high-speed Intel Pentium 4 chips.


4.0GHz Plans Scrapped, Intel Focuses on ‘Ts’

Intel initially intended to launch its Intel Pentium 4 chip at 4.0GHz clock-speed in the fourth quarter of 2004, which was a highly-advertised and discussed introduction. Then, in Summer 2004 the company said it changed its plans and will release the 4GHz microprocessor in volume only in the first quarter 2005 citing volume, quality and reliability questions. Now, the company says it won’t launch the 4.0GHz Pentium 4 chip on the Prescott core, the latest architecture that powers Intel’s desktop chips, at all.

“We have begun providing direction to our customers on our platform-centric plans that reflect two clear priorities: multi-core products along with key silicon and platform technologies ranging from larger cache products to a family of user-centric technologies we call ‘the Ts’,” Intel’s spokesman George Alfs told X-bit labs.

Intel’s to date known major user-centric technologies are Vanderpool, a virtualization technology, La Grande, a security feature, EM64T, a 64-bit capability for x86 chips, Intel Active Management Technology, a program aimed to decrease cost of PC ownership.

“We are investing heavily in the programs, tools and enabling and consulting services necessary to enable all of these features worldwide. With energy focused on these two priorities, we have aligned resources across our product lines to strengthen our future plans and intensify our focus on quality, consistency and volume delivery,” Mr. Alfs added.

But Higher Performance Still Ahead

In addition to improvements in feature-set of future microprocessor Intel is also going to consistently improve performance of central processing units using a variety of methods, such as increase in cache sizes.

“Part of this effort includes a larger 2MB cache product that will deliver roughly the same and in some cases greater performance at lower frequencies versus our previously planned Prescott 4.0GHz chip. As a result, we will not bring the Intel Pentium 4 “Prescott” 4.0GHz offering to market,” the Intel’s official explained.

According to unofficial information, Intel will bring “Extreme Edition” desktop processors with 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus and 2MB L3 or L2 cache and 3.46GHz clock-speed later during the year. Besides, Intel is likely to offer Intel Pentium 4 processors with 2MB L2 cache not only at premium price-point, but also to high-end and performance mainstream customers in Q1 2005. The chips will be clocked at 3.20GHz, 3.40GHz, 3.60GHz and 3.80GHz and will be intended for infrastructure supporting 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus and TDP of up to 115W. Like all Intel’s latest central processing units, the new chips code-named Prescott 2M will be branded with model numbers, e.g., Pentium 4 640, Pentium 4 650, Pentium 4 660 and Pentium 4 670.

Later during 2005 Intel will also release dual-core processors for desktops, mobiles and servers.

“A mix of performance and features” – The Main Trend for Intel

While the performance is an indivisible part of computing platforms, the main guideline for Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of microprocessors and chipsets, is a combination of speed and capabilities of computing platforms.

“[The focus is on] a mix of performance and features. Sometimes the benefits will be more along the lines of ease of use, connectivity, responsiveness, bandwidth, security, etc. Features that really help users with everyday computing and hopefully make computers easier to use. Also we will continue to work with the software community on threading, something we have started with Hyper-Threading technology and that dual-core will be able to take advantage of,” says Intel Corp.’s official.

Intel Corp. has been for some time offering its microprocessors in conjunction with core-logic and network connectivity, which allowed the company to bring a fully-integrated solution to its customers, providing some additional reliability and ease of use to individuals and enterprises, unlike the arch-rival AMD, who focuses on microprocessors and relies on chipset and network solutions from third-party companies, such as NVIDIA Corp. and VIA Technologies.

“The steps continue the “platformization” of Intel that Paul Otellini first outlined three years ago and described most recently at IDF last month. We have not discussed future MHz speeds for later unannounced products,” Intel stated, refusing to comment directly on the possibility of future processors clock-speed rally.