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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  • mino - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    ONE IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    (mostly to autor)

    WILL YONAH BE 64-bit ????

    please tell us.
    every glimpse appreciated;)
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    My "typing" is becomming even funnier sometimes, unfortunatelly ;) Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Finally intel execs came to their senses. people should applaud them all at once! They are evidently going to get rid of those super-trooper power drainers they are producing for last 2 yrs.

    BTW you all seeing performance parity arise just remember tah if AMD needs it even wouldn't need K9 to compete with Merom(unless it will be some miracle chip). They could yust release quad-core server chips plus some 3.2-3.4 desktop K8+ dualies and be done with it !

    It's becomming so funny that first chips able to really axploit potential of DDR2(666+),technology som much tooted and pushed by Intel, will be 65nm X2's.
    Ironic, isn't it?
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Merom Merom Merom Kris! is the only thing Intel has I'm waiting for since I dont use notebooks. Does'nt quite sound as nice does it.:P


    I just can't see the extra cache doing much for the 9xx series, much like the 6xx did'nt do squat.. So the only thing that remains to be seen and potentially exciting is power draw and overclockabilty of the 65nm desktop chips.
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    But on a much more serious note, I think VT would be good if it would work with very little or no OS support. I remember horror stories with Windows and Linux partitions, and I really don't want to find out how much Windows on VT can destabilize the rest of operating systems running on virtual partitions Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Executive series of mainboards probably have air conditioned as standard Reply
  • Shintai - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Hmm..I think people have too high expertations after the few last years of gigahurtz.

    I think 65nm will give us affordable AMD64 X2s maybe a speedbump to 5000 and 5200. But I think it will be more focused on quad cores, cheaper manufactoring and lower power consumption.

    P4 65nm. I think we might see the 4Ghz now. But else the same thing as with AMD, cheaper dualcores, lower power usage.

    Yonah is abit different, size the manufactoring cost of Yonah wont increase that much compared to a P4/X2 dualcore. But yonah sports SSE3, some 20-30% faster speed at the same frequency. So Yonah will be desktop and server attractive. More than Dothan is now. Plus it keeps its low powerusage. Also a speedbump is likely here.

    But remember people, building an X2 or P4D is alot more expensive than a singlecore. So 65nm is not the "Yiiihah" speedbumpage. But more like the 1100$ AMD 4800 X2 down to 3-500$ thing.

    So I wouldn´t really expect much other than more cores and alittle tweak here and there until K9 and Meron/Conroe.
    Reply
  • Furen - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    If I ran two operating systems at once, I'd basically idle on one while working on the other one. So my overhead for running to OSes would mostly be memory. It'd be like dualbooting without the booting, you just switch your active OS whenever you wish to. It'd be great for those of us who prefer *nix OSes but NEED windows for specific tasks *cough*games*cough*.
    The problem, of course, will end up being how much additional software will be needed to do this (not to mention how much it will cost ^^), I'm guessing it wont be just installing both OSes and then booting them.
    Reply
  • dotdotperiod - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Seriously why are you guys concerned about clock speed, as everyone has reported clock speed does not equate to a significant increase in performance. BTW who in the hell needs to run four operating systems at once?? I mean it reallY?? Glad to see intel in finally going to stop making two of the same chipset and giving them different names. I almost fell asleep looking at all the different cpu's seems like the same stuff just a different day. I dont run a multi billion dollar company but Intel should seriously simplify and stop getting there teeth kicked in by AMD. Reply
  • Eug - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    I'm surprised that so many people are complaining about the 2.16 GHz Yonah when it's dual-core and so low power. It's only about 35 Watts people. Reply

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