Anand and I had a discussion about a year ago that went something along the lines of "2005 is going to be sooooo boring for Intel and AMD". But then a week later, AMD and Intel both started announcing dual core stuff internally and 2005 has been one of the better processor slugfests that we have seen yet. After passing up the last few roadmaps due to various tradeshows and NDAs, we decided to plunge into the most recent Intel roadmaps and really take an in-depth look at what is coming up for the next year or so.

We have talked extensively about Yonah - the dual core successor to Dothan - without much attention to its clock speed and other features. The latest roadmap has provided quite a bit of new information about several of the cores. We'll take a more in-depth look at Yonah, Presler and Cedar Mill in this update.

Desktop

Over the last month we were bombarded by dual core announcements and releases from AMD and Intel. Not only because dual core is an interesting and new concept to desktop computing, but also because after all of the hype, AMD and Intel were both able to deliver fairly good products (both AMD [RTPE: AMD Opteron Italy] and Intel [RTPE: "Pentium D"] are shipping already). Inevitably, there have been some pretty major changes to Intel's product naming, for starters:
  • Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors are now simply named Pentium Extreme Edition. Although these processors are nothing more than best of breed server and desktop cores, they will now have their own product category at least. (This started with the most recent dual core Pentium XE.)
  • Pentium 4 now only refers to the single core Prescott and upcoming 65nm Cedar Mill cores. Pentium D will refer to Smithfield and 65nm Presler.
  • All 5x1 processors are now 64-bit enabled.
  • All 6x2 processors are now VT enabled.
  • All 6x3 processors are 65nm Cedar Mill (which has VT enabled).
Let's take a look at the upcoming dual core roadmap.

Intel Dual Core Performance Desktop Lineup LGA775

Processor

Speed

L2 Cache

FSB

Launch

Pentium D 950

3.40GHz

2x2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium D 940

3.20GHz

2x2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium D 930

3.00GHz

2x2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium D 920

2.80GHz

2x2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium D 840

3.20GHz

2x1MB

800MHz

Now

Pentium D 830

3.00GHz

2x1MB

800MHz

Now

Pentium D 820

2.80GHz

2x1MB

800MHz

Now


Aside from the additional cache, also note that the new 9xx series processors are the same 65nm Presler cores mentioned earlier. Presler will in fact be nothing but two Cedar Mill cores sharing the same package, just as Smithfield is only two Prescotts sharing the same core. Shrinking to 65nm frees up a considerable amount of space on the die, so moving to 2MB L2 cache seems logical. Also, all 9xx processors will have EIST enabled, whereas only the 840 and 830 Pentium D processors have EIST. That makes sense for 8xx, as EIST currently just drops the CPU speed to 2.8 GHz; we would hope that the 9xx models will improve the functionality of EIST. EM64T and XD are supported on all upcoming processors. The last final addition to the 9xx line is VT, or Vanderpool Technology.

We have discussed Vanderpool in the past (first in 2003), but it seems like there is still a large amount of confusion regarding the technology. Vanderpool - and AMD's competing technology, "Pacifica" - enable a CPU to run multiple operating systems on a single CPU at the same time. The particular demos that we have seen show four operating systems running on a single machine independent of each other. Unfortunately, this requires BIOS support, Chipset support and Processor support, not to mention OS support. Intel claims that VT will roll out on the 6xx processor line before the end of the year, so we expect 945 and 955 to fully support VT as of now, since the next chipset revision from Intel won't come until Q2'06 (Broadwater).

Intel Single Core Performance Desktop Lineup LGA775

Processor

Speed

L2 Cache

FSB

Launch

Pentium 4 672

3.80GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q4'05

Pentium 4 663

3.60GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium 4 662

3.60GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q4'05

Pentium 4 653

3.40GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium 4 643

3.20GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium 4 633

3.00GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium 4 631

3.00GHz

2MB

800MHz

Q1'06

Pentium 4 571

3.80GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon

Pentium 4 561

3.60GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon

Pentium 4 551

3.40GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon

Pentium 4 541

3.20GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon

Pentium 4 531

3.00GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon

Pentium 4 521

2.80GHz

1MB

800MHz

Soon


With 13 new performance SKUs in the next year, Intel certainly has its work cut out. The new 5x1 processors are set to launch before the end of this month, although the only real advantage that they have over the existing 5x0 and 5x0J chips is EM64T support. The interesting processors (highlighted in bold) are the upcoming 65nm Cedar Mill cores. Roadmaps hint that Cedar Mill will top out at 95W TDP per core and 3.80GHz is the highest clock on the roadmap. The Pentium 4 551 has a TDP of 84W. The roadmap also reveals that the prices of the 6xx line will cut dramatically mid-August, and VT enabled Prescott 2M (Pentium 4 672 and Pentium 4 662) will retain a premium over their non-VT counterparts.

As we mentioned earlier, two Cedar Mills running at lower clock speeds will compose a Presler dual core processor (Smithfield's replacement). HyperThreading, EIST, XD and EM64T are enabled on all of these new processors. Furthermore, all Cedar Mill chips will also receive VT technology, with the exception of the Pentium 4 631. The Pentium 4 631 and 633 are identical except the absence of VT in the 631. We're not entirely sure why the 631 is even being produced, other than to perhaps fill a niche market. All of the Cedar Mill cores clearly have VT support (as do the Prescott 2M cores), so why Intel would want to deactivate it in one model is anyone's guess.

With both 65nm Presler and 65nm Cedar Mill, the interesting thing to note is how low the FSB clock speeds remain. We had almost expected next generation Pentium processors to ramp up to 1066FSB after the most recent Pentium 4 EE utilized 1066FSB. In fact, Intel relaunched its 925X motherboard lineup (with 925XE) to support the faster bus, and all current generation motherboards make a big deal of supporting 1066FSB. As our tests revealed, 1066FSB did virtually nothing to improve performance on the 3.46EE over 800FSB. The conservative FSB speeds on Presler and Cedar Mill indicate to us that Intel probably did nothing to shorten Prescott's pipeline, although there may be other reasons why they have decided to keep the bus speed low as well.

Desktop Roadmaps Continued
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  • segagenesis - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Although it still sounds vague in explanation, if VT tech lets you run two *different* operating systems at the *same time*, similar to using VMWare in full screen mode... that would be pretty nice.

    The savings of having to buy extra hardware (or VMWare itself) for another OS without dual booting would help those on a budget.
    Reply
  • Shintai - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    #42

    A geforce 6600GT runs at 500Mhz GPU..a 7800GTX runs at 430Mhz..does the 7800GTX suck compared to the 6600GT?

    Sometimes you just don´t need huge CPU power, but you need low powerusage for either batterytime and/or how compact you can make it.

    The 1.06Ghz Yonah most likely uses a few watts only. And with few we are talking a low single digit number. Or the same as having 30 1.06Ghz for 1 2.4Ghz AMDx2. Or having 45 1.06Ghz instead of 1 3.2Ghz P4D.
    Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    "All of the Cedar Mill cores clearly have VT support (as do the Prescott 2M cores), so why Intel would want to deactivate it in one model is anyone's guess."

    Binning!

    Intel is expecting noticeable issues getting high yields out of the VT portions of the silicon, or at least are expecting a noticeable failure rate(30% or so higher than the average failure rate for the rest of the chip?), so they are planning something to do with all the chips that fail VT qualification, but pass everything else.

    (At least, that's my guess.)
    Reply
  • sgtroyer - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    your wording in paragraph 4 is a little wierd:

    "Presler will in fact be nothing but two Cedar Mill cores sharing the same core, just as Smithfield is only two Prescotts sharing the same core."

    Wouldn't it make more sense to say Presler is two Cedar Mill cores sharing the same *die* or sharing the same package? Two cores sharing the same core doesn't make any sense.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Eug - "But it doesn't HAVE to be 2006. If it's out by 2007 for laptops that's fine"

    Fair enough...but remember that the important factor here is the PERCEPTION of release.
    By that I mean that the imminent release of 64 bit apps would be a big deterrent (IMHO) to anyone thinking of buying a Yonah based laptop next year. If true, then Yonah would be the only chip unable to run the apps. Software in 2006 will most likely be both 32 and 64 bit...but if people believe that any of the apps they use will be released in 2007 as a 64 bit only, then they have to accept that their new laptop will only have a 1 year lifespan (something that businesses would probably avoid, and they buy the most laptops).
    This is especially true as AMD should have a very competitive product (both in power and low power usage) that is already 64 bit and will probably cost a few dollars less...
    Reply
  • blwest - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Ok. 1.06ghz... that was soooo 5 years ago. Reply
  • Eug - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    I disagree. 64-bit on laptops can be important, if only because it allows you to do 64-bit development and testing on a laptop.

    But it doesn't HAVE to be 2006. If it's out by 2007 for laptops that's fine. By that time both Windows Longhorn and OS X 10.5 Leopard should be out, perfect timing for Merom.
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Viditor:
    I wasn't completely sure(maybe next Yamhill:).
    That's it. For now 64bits on mobile doesn't make sense(except *nix). Howerever in '06 it's gone be pretty much a mainstream feature on desktop(not to mention server).
    Also in the big picture this makes sense since it will put SOME(just on niche markets) pressure on AMD with minimal resources amd will also limit P-M into low-power space so it will not interferewith next-ge chips.

    But here come BIG BUT! it seams that only single possible serious contender in performance race from intel camp is out of the game!

    So it seems AMD has free ground to play for another at least 1.5yrs ! (That makes it 3.5 in total!!!). Anyway i like smart moves by AMD this is NOT gona be GOOD FOR US. (customers)

    little sorry for my screams, not slept for too long ;)
    Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    mino - no, Yonah will not be 64bit (as Shintai explained)...but I disagree that it will not be important. For software in 2006, it won't be important but for software in 2007 it will be (IMHO).
    There you have 2 differing OPINIONS...we shall see! :-)
    Reply
  • Shintai - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    #37

    No..and it´s not really important. Meron(mobile) and Conroe(desktop/server) will be 64bit and with characteristics of pentium M. They are an 8th genration core tho. And not based on the 6th(p-M) or 7th(p4)
    Reply

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