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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  • porkster - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    I'll be upgrading to the P4-633 then. Yeah it's strange thye are even going to both with the 6x2 series unless they want to make a tier of products, but that sucks.

    .
    Reply
  • Furen - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    Well put.

    DRM, at least in the beginning, will be an enabling technology. The problem is not the technology itself but rather the ability to ENFORCE license agreements it gives content providers.

    I personally dont think everyone following license agreements is the problem, but rather the fact that the content providers will be able to achieve THEIR aims using MY hardware. This will, in turn, make it easier for content providers to force users into insane license agreements, like being able to play a song only on a single pc, for example (at least, that's what my limited understanding of DRM--and trusted computing as a whole--leads me to believe).
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    One thing we probably should have pointed out is that this roadmap ends right before the time when we should start seeing the Conroe/Merom CPU cores show up (2H'06). Part of that is probably because not even Intel known what they'll call those processors, but I think that's the biggest event currently on the Intel CPU horizon. :) Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: Two things; "just about every tech site" was really ONE website that understood something poorly, reported on it, and then about 30 other websites reporting the same thing or reclarifying the original statement. DTCP is surprisingly similar to HDCP in many ways but mainly differs in the fact that it only works for DTCP-ready content. How much DTCP content are you viewing right now that you need to worry about whether or not it will hamper your multimedia experience? I'm kinda approaching this like a scenario for Macrovision without DVDs.

    OK point 2; it can be disabled. The first reaction many people claim is "oh it can be disabled, it's only a matter of time before you cannot!". Maybe. On the other hand, if you want IPTV without any DRM you might want to start your own broadcast studio.

    I don't like unnecissary DRM as much as the next person, but I do want to watch four different angles of the Yankees @ 1080p over FIOS. Maybe I'll write something exploring some of the non-knee jerk details of DTCP.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    A 2.5 GHz Yonah with all the trimmings and some of the poor performing areas addressed might impress me.

    None of this stuff in their roadmap does however.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    VT is interesting and has major advantages over using something like VMWare which only implements partial hardware support for a host OS. Of course the vast majority of people, even most AT readers, are unlikely to use it seriously.

    Personally I'm far more interested/concerned about the progress of Intel's LaGrande and AMD's Presidio security (aka hardware DRM) in forthcoming chips. Why is it that this topic seems to be completely ignored by AT articles when it is potentially the most important aspect of new processors, given the implications it has on who will really control our computer (assuming you are foolish enough to install the DRM-riddled Longhorn when it is released)?

    Just about every other tech site has reported about the recent Pentium D DRM story in depth (both the initial story, and the follow up with their analysis of what that really meant), but it hasn't had a single mention on AT.
    Reply
  • AlexWade - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    And to think, if it wasn't for AMD's competition, we would still be using Pentium 1 at 100 MHz. Reply
  • HSuke - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    I agree. 2.5+ GHz Yonahs with SSE3 would be nice. Reply
  • Doormat - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    Yea I'm really disappointed in Yonah performance. I fully expected to see 2.5GHz Yonahs by Q1 2006. Reply
  • KayKay - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    I like the Intel Chipset/Processor names, thats about it, as it is doubtful I will buy a desktop Intel CPU ever again Reply

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