Sean Maloney alluded to a presentation by Intel's Mooly Eden, VP of Intel's Mobility Group and GM of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. Although he wears a marketing hat these days, Mooly was the head of the design team of the original Pentium M (Banias) so he's an engineer at heart. The presentation was supposed to shed some more light on Intel's Yonah microprocessor, the dual core 65nm successor to Dothan.

In a brief conversation with Mooly before he got ready to speak, he reaffirmed that Yonah is much more than just two Dothans stuck together. While the same can't be said about the desktop Pentium D, when Mooly says something is more complex than people want to make it out to be, it usually is. Unfortunately architectural details about Yonah won't really be unveiled until later this year at the Fall IDF, despite that fact Mooly did provide some details on some of the more curious points brought up in this morning's presentation.

Mooly started out by saying that by the end of the year there will be over 150 Sonoma based Centrino systems, "but at IDF to speak about the present is the past." At which point he dove into discussion about Yonah.

Dual Core Pentium M - Why Wait?

The first question? Why wait until 2006 for a dual core Pentium M, when Intel is pushing for dual core in the desktop next quarter. The answer? It would simply be too big for a mobile platform, Yonah was designed from the start to be a 65nm processor, and thus it will have to wait until 2006.

On another somewhat related note, Mooly mentioned that the design of Yonah was started well before he left the Intel design center in Israel for the US, meaning that the Yonah team has been hard at work since before the launch of the original Pentium M.

The other main point that Mooly wanted to get across is that Yonah is far from two Dothans stuck together. We already know that Yonah features a shared 2MB L2 cache (shared by both cores), which is an initial indication that its not just two Dothans. But what else is there that sets Yonah apart from Dothan?

Making Pentium M more "Media Friendly"

All of the major performance improvements to each of Yonah's cores seem to revolve around SIMD FP and FP performance, two of the Pentium M's present day weaknesses in comparison to the Pentium 4.

The first improvement is that now all three of Yonah's decoders can decode SSE instructions, regardless of the type of instruction. Improving the decode width of the processor is a quick way to improve performance.

Next, SSE/SSE2 operations (not sure if all can be, but at least some) can now be fused using the Micro Ops Fusion engine of Yonah. At a high level, the benefit here is increased performance and lower power consumption, we'll get into architectural details of why that is when we eventually sink our teeth into Yonah next year.

Each of the two cores in Yonah have also received support for SSE3 instructions much like the Pentium 4 E.

And finally there have been some improvements to Yonah's floating point performance, although Mooly would not say exactly what's been done. Curiously, Mooly referred to the floating point performance improvements as specifically made to improve gaming performance. Intel may have grander plans for Yonah than once thought...

The SSE/FP optimizations are all being grouped into what Intel is calling their Digital Media Boost technology, yes the names seem to get worse and worse as time goes on - but at least the functionality should be good.

Given that Yonah isn't going to a larger cache, the processor should have the same low latency 10 cycle 2MB L2 cache that we saw in Dothan, which is responsible for quite a bit of its performance. Combined with faster clock speeds (enabled by the 65nm process), dual core, a faster FSB and these "Digital Media" enhancements, Yonah may be a pretty solid competitor.

Dual Cores and Power Management
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  • PentiumIV - Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - link

    Banias - there is a rever in Golan Heights called Banias (or waterfall, don't remember ...)

    Dothan - there is a Dothan Valley in Israel.

    P.S. We've go a great honor- to use Israeli names for code names !
  • PentiumIV - Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - link

    Yonah als means "pidgeon" in Hebrew ....
  • PeteRoy - Friday, March 4, 2005 - link

    I think your right Determinant about that, Yonah can be a person name they call the core after.

    Dothan has no meaning in Hebrew but some people in Israel are called Dothan, I don't know about Banias.
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    LOL, its so funny to see people going religiously over some computer hardware. Not that I am not an enthusiast, but not so into like most of you guys do.

    Anyways Yonah looks slick.
  • Determinant - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    #11 (PeteRoy)

    While Yona might mean pigeon in Hebrew, Yonah does not.

    Yonah means Jonah in Hebrew.

    God told the prophet Jonah to go and tell this
    one nation to change from their evil ways
    otherwise they will get punished.

    Yonah didn't listen and took a boat in the
    opposite direction. He got thrown off the boat,
    swallowed by a whale and taken to the place where
    he was supposed to go. The whale vomitted Jonah

    I think Jonah's branch predictor needed some fine
    tuning otherwise he wouldn't have made the wrong

    Dual cores wouldn't have helped here.
  • stephenbrooks - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    #11, did the pigeon get swallowed by a whale? Did it have dual-cores?
  • val - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    advertising is required in current world.
    The world which cannot alive without "women intim products" ads have many reasons why so fast developing company as Intel need to advertise.
    If they will not, somebody else will. Without ads the average Joe will not know there there is something to change his PIII 700 MHz for on the market, will never know difference between garage PC and high quality laptop, etc.

    There are no bad and good guys in Capitalism. Everybody works for moneys and fame.
  • Quanticles - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    AMD is on a much tighter budget. That means they have to choose between spending money on a competitive product, or spending money on advertising. I wouldnt be suprised if Intel's advertising budget is bigger than that of AMD's entire processor division.
  • Doormat - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    AMD ususally has some sort of meeting around IDF. This year they didnt unveil anything new, just had lots of dual core computers running. Apparently production models too, it came out that AMD's dual core speeds will start at 2.4GHz, maybe higher (for reference, a single core 2.4GHz dual channel ddr/1MB L2 is AMD's 4000+ model).
  • val - Thursday, March 3, 2005 - link

    I think that AMD have some PR meeting. We havent seen many nice products for some time so they plan some another forum spam burst or maybe some submarine advertising?

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