Intel Q3'05 Roadmap: Conroe Appears, Speculation Ensuesby Kristopher Kubicki & Jarred Walton on August 8, 2005 3:13 AM EST
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Intel CPU Roadmap Update
We have a small update to the Intel desktop roadmap, and not much has really changed. Everything from our last update remains the same, and it's basically business as usual. So what's new? We'll start off with the most interesting area in our view, the dual core units. As usual, we'll highlight the updates and additions.
|Intel Desktop Performance Roadmap|
|Processor||Core Name||Clock Speed||Socket||Launch Date|
|Pentium D >= 950||Presler||???||LGA 775||Q2'06|
|Pentium D 950||Presler||3.4 2x2MB||LGA 775||Q1'06|
|Pentium D 940||Presler||3.2 2x2MB||LGA 775||Q1'06|
|Pentium D 930||Presler||3.0 2x2MB||LGA 775||Q1'06|
|Pentium D 920||Presler||2.8 2x2MB||LGA 775||Q1'06|
We already covered the arrival of the Presler Pentium D cores last month (and Smithfield has been available for a few months). The chips will be dual core 65nm parts with EM64T, VT, EIST, and XD. If you're not familiar with those acronyms, here's the recap:
- EM64T adds 64-bit support and is the Intel equivalent of AMD64.
- XD provides some protection against buffer overflow attacks, again matching up to AMD's NX (No-eXecute) technology.
- VT stands for Virtualization Technology and provides hardware level support for running multiple OSes concurrently on a single computer.
As we mentioned in our recent AMD roadmap update, it was only possible to run multiple OSes concurrenty in the past through such third party tools as VMware, and the hardware support should increase the performance quite a bit. As with the other technologies mentioned, VT has an AMD counterpart, dubbed Pacifica. The remaining technology warrants further explanation.
EIST stands for Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology, which allows the processors to throttle down to lower clock speeds and voltages when idle and thus conserve power. The version of EIST in the Presler core should be superior to that of the Smithfield core as it will also be available on the 2.8 GHz model. Current EIST on Pentium and Pentium D chips reduces the clock speed to 2.8 GHz, making it a useless feature for a chip that runs at 2.8 GHz by default. We don't have any specific details on the new EIST, but we hope that it will offer more benefits than a static clock speed and voltage reduction. Ideally, we'd like to see something like AMD's Cool and Quiet where all lower CPU multipliers are unlocked - that's what Intel has in their Pentium M chips as well. Overclockers in particular like to have such control; however, Intel may or may not offer that degree of tuning.
We have one new entry for a potentially faster Presler model: 960 running at 3.6 GHz is the most probable candidate, although whether or not Intel decides to release such a chip will depend on a variety of factors. The more interesting addition is Conroe, which will use Intel's next generation architecture. Details on what Conroe will bring to the table are scarce, but we would imagine that all the previously mentioned technologies will be present. The major change is that Conroe will not use the NetBurst architecture that has been used in the Pentium 4 (and derivatives) line.
For those that don't follow processors closely, here's a brief explanation on why this decision was made. The long pipeline of NetBurst has become a liability with clock speeds beyond 4 GHz producing a lot of heat. Increasing clock speeds have always created more heat, but now we're hitting the point where they begin to scale out of control. Rather than trying to find ways of dealing with 150W power levels (or perhaps even higher), Intel has designed a new architecture "from the ground up." Of course, they're not really starting over, as they'll be using elements of all of their previous designs, but Conroe will be enough of a change that it will have a new name.