The new Pentium III

The current Pentium III processor is based on the 0.18-micron Coppermine core which was introduced in October of last year.  Unfortunately Intel seems to have reached the limits of what they can do with the process as was evident by the trouble they had with pushing the Pentium III up to 1.13GHz. 

With the Pentium 4 not immediately able to become a mainstream solution, for Intel to release a faster Pentium III does make some sense.  The only way to do this however would be to somehow improve the yields on the 0.18-micron process, or give the Pentium III a needed die shrink.  The latter is the course Intel will take and in Q3-2001 Intel will release a 1.26GHz Pentium III based on a new 0.13-micron core.  This new core is known as Tualatin-256 and is a modified version of the Coppermine core that will use Intel’s new 0.13-micron process.  There will be no performance enhancing features of the Tualatin-256 core other than the ability to hit higher clock speeds.  As the name indicates, the Tualatin-256 will actually use an on-die 256KB L2 cache like its Coppermine predecessor. 

The decision to outfit the Tualatin core with 256KB of L2 cache came recently, as the Tualatin was originally supposed to be a 512KB part.  In fact we will see a 512KB Tualatin core however it will be a mobile part only, the desktop part being differentiated from it by the –256 designation in its name. 

The Tualatin-256 Pentium III will still be a Socket-370 part however, as you’ll see in our analysis of Intel’s chipset future, the Tualatin-256 core won’t work on current i8xx boards. 

As far as we know, there is no version of the Tualatin-256 core that is planned to be released with support for currently available Socket-370 platforms. 

The mainstream Pentium III Making the Pentium 4 a success

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