Intel’s Happy about Dual Core

While AMD has been touting dual core for quite some time, it’s looking like Intel will beat them to the punch - at least on the desktop.  Intel had a couple of interesting announcements this morning as well.

The first thing they sent out to us was an interesting fact - that Intel has 11 multi-core projects that they’re working on for the 2005 - 2006 time period.  Doing a quick number check we’re left with the following breakdown:

3 - “Smithfield” based Pentium 4 8xx series CPUs
1 - dual core Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
3 - “Yonah” based Pentium M CPUs (in 2006)

That leaves us with four unaccounted for chips - we’d expect Xeon and Itanium to fill in those blanks nicely.

Intel confirmed what we wrote about in our most recent roadmaps - the first dual core desktop CPUs will be arriving next quarter.  Intel is going to be releasing two CPUs, one 90nm Extreme Edition and one 90nm Pentium 4 8xx model. 

What’s interesting is that the 90nm dual core Pentium 4 Extreme Edition will feature Hyper Threading support, something that is left out of the regular Pentium 4 8xx series.  A Hyper Threading enabled dual core Pentium 4 EE would mean 4 logical processors, capable of executing 4 simultaneous threads across the two physical cores.  It looks like the EE chip will be launched with the new 955X chipset (Glenwood), with support for the 1066MHz FSB and DDR2-667 support.  We often wondered why Intel wasn’t using the 1066MHz FSB with their Smithfield dual core processors, now we know - Intel’s saving the faster FSB for their price premium Extreme Edition part. 

The Pentium 4 8xx CPU, which we’ve already talked about in great detail, won’t have Hyper Threading support and will use the 800MHz FSB.  The 8xx series will run on either the 955X or on upcoming 945 based motherboards, but not on present  925/915 solutions.

The 90nm dual core solutions have just completed initial production runs and they should be ready to go by Q2.

Intel also announced that they have production samples of their first dual core 65nm CPUs - none other than Yonah (Jonah).  Given the diligence of Intel’s Pentium M team in Israel, it’s no surprise to see a chip that’s supposed to be released at the beginning of next year already up and running in labs. 

More info as we get it....



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  • Idoxash - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    I'm glad to see RAMBUS back in the fight :) Maybe this time they will prove their selfs to everyone who has the better tech that's not dino old.

  • Viditor - Monday, February 14, 2005 - link

    Derek - RDRAM is higher latency than SDRAM for anything less than 800MHz (which was essentially unavailable due to poor yields). Also, DDR had far lower latency than even the 800MHz...
    So, yes...the RDRAM roadmap would have been bad for AMD.
    Even with the on-die memory controller, latency appears to be far more critical to Athlon's performance than bandwidth (and of course the opposite is true for Netburst chips).
  • ceefka - Monday, February 14, 2005 - link

    #17 Would Rambus dare to sue Sony? That'll be the day. Reply
  • srg - Monday, February 14, 2005 - link

    At first, I just wasn't impressed with Cell, now with Rambus on the case, I'm possitively against it.

  • DerekWilson - Monday, February 14, 2005 - link

    Though the discussion is probably over by now, I'm gonna add my two cents and say that AMD would definitely have benefited from RDRAM at the time. When it came out it was higher bandwidth and lower latency than PC100 or PC133. Doing these two things at the time when AMD still relied on the northbridge as a memory interface would have increased performance -- it's one more link in the chain that's stronger (or faster and wider as the case may be).

    If you don't think I'm right, look at nforce2. improved bandwidth to the system increased performance. at the time, latency was also a larger issue, but now that amd has an integraded memory controller it's not as much a problem.

    saying RDRAM would have been "bad" for AMD in terms of performance is probably not true. As far as business goes, AMD made a good decision not to support RDRAM.

    Going back to what many have said before, with RAMBUS, the technology was not the problem (it was very good) as much as their business philosophy (which was horrifically bad).

    But what about XDR + K10 ??

    It'll never happen (and thankfully so, if I do say so myself), and the bandwidth would likely be overkill for even the next AMD solution. Still, it's interesting to think about.
  • Viditor - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the reply Jarred.

    I absolutely agree with you that RDRAM was a FAR better fit for the Netburst architecture (which is why AMD never embraced it, it would have been terrible for the Athlon architecture).
    On price however...IIRC, the price never came down until Intel began subsidizing it (I believe they spent ~$500 million doing so). The inherent problem wasn't market acceptance, it was:
    1. DDR is made with the same Fab lines as SDRAM, and they could actually determine which kind of memory they wanted at the last stage of assembly
    2. RDRAM required all new testing equipment, while DDR could continue using SDRAM testing equipment
    3. The bin-splits for higher clocked RDRAM (800 Mhz) was extremely poor (~15% IIRC), and the lower clocked RDRAM wasn't as good as the DDR.

    These are all the main reasons (IMHO) that Intel abondened RDRAM, because from a business standpoint (all things being equal), RDRAM was perfect for them and bad for AMD.

    As for DDR2, yields are still a bit low while they ramp up. But I don't disagree that they are milking it...

    Your point on 1MB/1066 is well taken, and I was quite surprised that Intel went with the 2MB cache choice (a VERY expensive decision!). I can only assume that they have been running into production problems...
    All that said, I don't see Intel being very competitive on the performance side until next year (JMHO) when Conroe is released. My impression is that they are (wisely) pushing that release as hard as they can and I wouldn't be surprised if it's quite early.

    Cheers, mate!
  • retrospooty - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - link

    RAMBUS = CACA ;) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - link

    11 - Sorry to not get back to you earlier on this, Viditor. What I said about Rambus and Pentium 3 not going well together is very accurate. Forget the price for a minute. The P3 could only have something like 2 outstanding (unfulfilled) RAM requests at the same time. I think the chipsets could also only support 4 open banks of memory at a time, so the fact that RDRAM could support up to 32 open banks went completely unused.

    P4, on the other hand, could handle more open banks/pages, more outstanding requests, and it had deeper buffers. Up until the 875P chipset, none of the DDR chipsets were actually able to surpass 850E for performance - and even then not in all areas. If Intel had stuck with RDRAM, PC1200 and even PC1600 would have surfaced, and it would be interesting to see performance of a P4 system with PC1600 RDRAM instead of PC3200 DDR.

    If you look at historical price trends, once production of RDRAM ramped up, there was actually a brief period where it was slightly cheaper than DDR memory. Then Intel released DDR chipsets and abandoned RDRAM, demand for RDRAM dried up, and the prices climbed back up. Anyway, look at DDR2 and tell me that memory manufacturers aren't milking new technologies for all they can.

    Shoulda, coulda, woulda... I don't hold any ill will towards Rambus, and if they can actually design a product that noticeably outperforms competitors, more power to them! In reality, of course, caches and such make the memory subsystem less of an impact on performance in a lot of applications. That's why FSB1066 is not doing much for Intel right now: the only official support is with CPUs that have 2MB of cache. I think a 1MB (or 512K) cache with FSB1066 would show more of a benefit. Maybe not enough to make it truly worthwhile, but more than the 3% or so that we saw with the P4XE 3.46.
  • retrospooty - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - link

    ICE 9

    All roads still lead to Rambus ? You aint been around long have you ?

    As I said before... We have been hearing this for years. R&D and unreleased products means nothing. Rambus is full of it, and cannot be beleived until there is a shipping product, and its independantly benchmarked and isnt 10x more expenssive than the competition.

    Its one thing to have specs, and partnerships, its totally another thing to ship working product at a price that consumers will be able to buy in mass quantities.

    RAmbus has proven inept at the latter.
  • Viditor - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - link

    Ice9 - Answer truthfully now, are you a Rambus shareholder? :-) Reply

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