Been hearing conflicting dual core information lately? Here's a compilation of everything we have and know about Intel's dual core plans for the next two years.

Dual Core for Desktops in 2005

Intel has yet to determine what brand they will market their first desktop chips under, although we'd expect them to continue to use the Pentium 4 brand but with some sort of appendage like Extreme Edition or Lots of Cores Version. Intel has, however, already determined what the specifications and the model numbers of their dual core chips will be.

Currently set for release in Q3 2005, Intel has three dual core chips on their desktop roadmap: the x20, x30 and x40. The only difference between these three chips is clock speed, with the x20 running at 2.8GHz, the x30 running at 3GHz and the x40 running at 3.2GHz. All of the chips are LGA-775 compatible and run off of an 800MHz FSB. Hyper-Threading is not enabled with Intel's dual core chips.

As far as architecture goes, the x-series of dual core CPUs from Intel are built on the little talked-about Smithfield core. While many have speculated that Smithfield may be Banias or Dothan based, it's now clear that Smithfield is little more than two 90nm Prescott cores built on the same die. There is a requirement for a very small amount of arbitration logic that will balance bus transactions between the two CPUs, but for the most part Smithfield is basically two Prescotts.

But doesn't Prescott run too hot already? How could Intel possibly build their first dual core chip out of the 90nm beast that is Prescott? The issue with Prescott hitting higher clock speeds ends up being thermal density - too many transistors, generating too much heat, in too small of a space. Intel's automated layout tools do help reduce this burden a bit, but what's important is that the thermal density of Smithfield is no worse than Prescott. If you take two Prescotts and place them side by side, the areas of the die with the greatest thermal density will still be the same, there will simply be twice as many of them. So overall power consumption will obviously be increased by a factor of two and there will be much more heat dissipated, but the thermal density of Smithfield will remain the same as Prescott.

In order to deal with the fact that Smithfield needs to be able to run with conventional cooling, Intel dropped the clock speed of Smithfield down to the 2.8 - 3.2GHz range, from the fastest 3.8GHz Prescott that will be out at the time. The reducing in clock speed will make sure that temperatures and power consumption is more reasonable for Smithfield.

Smithfield will also feature EM64T (Intel's version of AMD's x86-64 extensions), EIST (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology) and Intel's XD bit support. Chipset support for Smithfield will come from Glenwood and Lakeport, both of which support the 1066MHz FSB (as well as 800) and Dual Channel DDR-2 667 and 533. Glenwood (the successor to 925X) will support up to 8GB of memory, making it the perfect candidate for EM64T enabled processors that want to break the 4GB barrier.

Dual Core Mobility


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  • ViRGE - Saturday, October 23, 2004 - link

    #35, all the compilers in the world won't help Intel here with multicore. Threading isn't just an optimization, it's something that has to be explicitly declared and controlled in code in order to make sure that the threads don't work against each other, or assume that the other is/has done something it hasn't. Intel may be able to work in some thread-swapping tricks to speed things up, but for multicore designs to shine, it's up to the developers to do it; Intel can't control that. Reply
  • Anemone - Saturday, October 23, 2004 - link

    Actually Intel has confirmed again and again that dual core is coming in Q3 05. Those are netburst cpu's so that's some approximation of dual P4. Those will plug into current LGA775, and run at 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2, with 64 bit ability.

  • Chuckles - Saturday, October 23, 2004 - link

    I'm surprised that games haven't been multi-threaded on the PC side. The games for Mac are... Reply
  • michaelpatrick33 - Saturday, October 23, 2004 - link

    #35 Intel itself has that the dual core P4's won't be out until Q1 2006. That is 2006. They are delaying the Celeron D 350 and the Pentium 4 670 until Q2 05 and they will be on a 800 FSB. The only dual core Intel is releasing in 2005 is the Itanium. They will release a dualcore P4 chipset in 2005 but have no dualcore P4's to go into it until 2006. These aren't rumors, these are the facts. Intel is only going to take a small hit financially but they are definitely behind AMD on some fronts at this time. This doesn't mean AMD won't shoot itself in the foot but Intel is facing some problems. There have been a number of 64bit beta programs that show tremendous gains in 64bit long mode due more to the 16gpr's than 64bit. The 64bit part of AMD x86-64 is more than just 64bit remember. So is Intel's. Windows XP64 will be out 1st half 05 (supposedly) and we will see 64bit programs along with it. Should be interesting Reply
  • Anemone - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    No no no and no.

    I'll forgive the bias, but if this is your honest summary opinion of whare Intel is headed, or what problems will be its Achilles heal (memory bandwidth) I can only say that I think the coming year is going to be quite an education for you.

    Don't get that entirely wrong. AMD is most definitely doing things very well, but their plan to introduce dual core to servers first is based on technological limitations, the markets they feel they still need to make inroads on (strategic order), and where they will achieve the best margins. They will still have to share a bus, and still have to pass cache duplication over that same bus, so I'd be highly careful on just what you think their chips will do in dual core format. Good design is probable, but AMD can and has let us down more than once.

    Heck, so has Intel. Prescott? God, what WERE they thinking? It has improved, but 40 I mean 64 bit is still like mystery soup. I'm positive they just want to sell everyone new "64 bit" Prescotts in 2005, so they're robbing every customer now, imo. But don't think for one minute that they've taken this year as it stands without working behind the scenes. As for forcing dual core and then letting the market make software for it? Well let's see, MMX, SSE, SSE2, doesn't that seem like a trend? And would you say that SSE2 is useless, and unsupported? Intel builds the compilers that make their hardware run. They even make the compilers that make AMD hardware run. That's pretty key, and rather silly to ignore.

    I guess when I read this I hadn't expected you to look at every possible Intel rumour and take the "worst possible scenario" route to find your best guess answer. I was wrong.
  • cosmotic - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    Why no word about Moterola or IBM? Granted they aren't PC chips, it would be nice to see a comparison. Reply
  • AlphaFox - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    #19 - win 2000 doesnt know the difference between a dual processor system and a hyper threaded cpu. win XP and server 03 know that it is just a single CPU with diper threading enabled, thus you can run a dual processor hyperthreaded system on XP pro. Reply
  • ViRGE - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    #31, it's similar to, but not the same as the 64bit transition. At the very least, if you want to get some use out of the 64bit extras, you simply need to recompile your program, and you can work out further optimizations without too much effort. Converting programs to usefully use multicore tech though is going to be far more difficult, since it requires a concept(multithreading) that isn't known very well by most programmers, implemented even less, and no one is really sure what a good way is to multithread some types of applications(i.e. games). Reply
  • xsilver - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    Hang on -- to all those that say dual threads are crap -- what exactly are you running -- AMD 64 maybe? they'res no software that can take advantage of the 64 bit, so its virtually the same thing no?

    and to those that say the heat requirements will stay the same because of increased die size, in total isn't the while cpu still socket 775..... that's still pretty small and probably too much for air cooling to handle. Some sites report a 30 degree increase at load for 100W of power (on a thermalright heatpipe i think) 200w will be way too high in temp increase?
  • michaelpatrick33 - Friday, October 22, 2004 - link

    Intel has said their desktop dual coares won't come out until Q1 2006 and that the only dual cores coming out in 2005 was their Itanium.

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