Introduction

Consistency in production is a sign of a great manufacturer, one that will be with us for the duration of the ride, and not just a brief period.  Now that we have seen Intel through their good times as well as their more recent bad times, we can make a fairly accurate statement summarizing a characteristic of theirs that has not failed the company, even when the going got tough.

While there have been times when Intel hasn’t had the fastest processor on the block, as well as instances when they weren’t always the most desirable name in the industry, it can’t be refuted that Intel has always excelled in one major area: manufacturing. 

Intel’s manufacturing processes have always seemed to be one step ahead of the competition and have never failed them.  Even the latest Intel blunder, the recall of the 1.13GHz Pentium III can be attributed to a poor marketing decision to launch a chip that was obviously not 100% ready for production.  In this case, the Pentium III was limited by its architecture, the 0.18-micron manufacturing process Intel produced it on was not to blame.

Until recently, Intel hasn’t had a need to tout their manufacturing capabilities, since they’ve always been able to live off of the success of their chipsets and processors.  Now with their dominance being questioned by AMD’s astounding success Intel is just starting to get things back together again.  With the press giving Intel a very difficult time, especially with the recent Pentium 4 release, Intel is in desperate need of a bit of positive light.  Which is why today, Intel is making a fairly large announcement regarding the development of their 0.13-micron manufacturing process as well as their predictions for their upcoming 0.10 and 0.07-micron processes as well. 

What this translates to for you all is nothing much since the first 0.13-micron processors from Intel won’t hit the streets until Q2-2001 as we diagramed in our Intel CPU & Chipset Roadmap not to mention that we won’t even see 0.07-micron technology until 2005.  However this announcement does give us a unique opportunity to discuss some of what may be possible in the future, as well as shed some light on Intel’s plans for their NetBurst Architecture.

The answer lies in history
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  • SlyNine - Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - link

    It'll be much much longer then we all thought. :P Reply
  • karasaj - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    They're 7 years overdue! :)

    History really is interesting.
    Reply
  • Shahnewaz - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    It has been 10 years and the only processor even remotely close enough to 10GHz is an AMD FX-9590@5GHz.
    No, you're not realistically speaking. At least not Intel.
    Reply
  • name99 - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link

    IBM z12 clocked at 5.5GHz, and IBM has claimed POWER8 runs at 5GHz (though I don't know if they've ever sold those on the open market).

    Back in the day (2007) POWER6 WAS sold at 5GHz, and IBM claimed they had versions running at 6GHz (which they may well have sold not on the open market).
    Reply
  • NJCompguy - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link

    15 years later, we can now have facial recognition on a Surface Pro 4 to log in! Yay for the fast pace!! lol Reply
  • name99 - Monday, February 29, 2016 - link

    "These are things that Intel is claiming will be possible by 2005 with the type of processors that will be available in desktop systems.... Intel is working very hard in developing the software that will help make these visions a reality. "

    Let's all remember this next time Intel predicts something, anything. Intel has three skills
    - process/manufacturing
    - circuit design
    - micro-architecture design.
    Unfortunately NOT on that list are things like
    - software design
    - ISA design
    - vision for the future, and prediction

    Which means you're going to be in a bubble if you live in the Intel world. That was obvious here with the absolute lack of mention of any other manufacturer (TSMC was 13 yrs old in 2000), and the lack of mention of other uses of CPUs (Apple Newton was 7 yrs old in 2000). Instead of asking what better processes might enable in less powerful machines, all we get is the question "how do we do more of the same?" The question to ask, usually, should NOT be "what do I do with a 10x faster processor" but "what do I do with a 100x CHEAPER" processor" or what do I do with a "100x lower power processor?"
    The post-iPhone revolution has broken through this bubble in some respects, but not all. Almost everyone is willing to concede that CPUs in cell-phone are important, interesting, and worth following. But we get the same blindness when it comes to the next shrink in size, whether its smartwatches or IoT. And we get an absolute blindness when it comes to the idea of substantially restructured OSs, substantially restructured languages (and development paradigms) --- apparently we're going to be using UNIX-like OS's and C/C++ for the next hundred years...
    Reply

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