Intel's 90nm Pentium M 755: Dothan Investigatedby Anand Lal Shimpi on July 21, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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Final WordsBanias was revolutionary; it changed the shape of the mobile CPU world and it changed how we perceive mobile chip design to be pursued. It would be nice if the same mobile-oriented design methodology spread to companies like ATI and NVIDIA. Maybe then we would truly be able to game while on the go.
Dothan, as an update to Banias, leverages Intel's 90nm process and some architecture tweaks to not stun us, but to keep us happy with the Pentium M platform. At 2.0GHz, the Pentium M 755 is easily the best chip that money can buy for a notebook. Clock for clock, it's faster and uses less power than Banias - there's really no reason not to like it.
If you're using your notebook for office applications and even for content creation applications, there's no beating the new Pentium M. Even developers will find short compile times, competitive with that of a similarly clocked Athlon 64, possible with the Pentium M at lower power usage as well.
What the Pentium M isn't, however, is as strong of a media encoding or workstation processor as either the Athlon 64 or Pentium 4. Partially constrained by its 400MHz FSB and single channel memory interface, the Pentium M is not the successor to the Pentium 4 that many will make it out to be. In many ways, the Pentium M is much like Intel's version of the Athlon 64, sans memory controller. The short pipelined design and accurate branch predictor give the Pentium M a nice and high IPC, similar to the Athlon 64, which give it strength in areas like business applications and are also responsible for its high performance in our compile tests.
With Intel's vision for the future being centered on media encoding and content creation, the Pentium M is the last thing that Intel would want to build their future desktop CPUs around. That being said, the Pentium M is quite possibly the best solution that Intel has for the office PC. It would be nice if Intel used the Pentium M as the basis for its desktop Celeron processor, instead of just a castrated Pentium 4.
The Pentium M will continue to be an excellent mobile chip, and the next incarnation of the Pentium M should be yet another revolution as it may even receive multiple cores as a part of Intel's overall threading strategy.
On the desktop, we may see features like micro ops fusion and some of the Pentium M's power saving technologies make their way into the Pentium 4's eventual successor. Dropping Prescott and moving towards Dothan would be a step back, using each architecture for their strengths and borrowing technologies for use in another would make much more sense for the future of Intel's microprocessors.
In the more short term, we may see some motherboard manufacturers make Pentium M based motherboards for desktop usage. Shuttle, in particular, is currently working on a small form factor box based on the Pentium M. That should be out by the end of this year.