Welcoming Prescott

Details on Intel's next-generation NetBurst core have been shady at best. Rumors have been running rampant as usual and generally speaking, most of them are incorrect. Intel did officially introduce the Prescott name and gave us some details about the core:

- 0.09-micron (90nm)
- additional micro-architectural enhancements
- Hyper-Threading on desktops
- shipping in second half 2003

The move down to a 0.09-micron process should allow for even greater clock speeds, including achieving that 4GHz on a Prescott core next year. The additional micro-architectural enhancements are purposefully made vague at this point, however there has been some speculation of a handful of additional instructions for the Prescott core.

Finally the inclusion of Hyper-Threading, enabled, on desktops is a key part of the Prescott launch mainly because it is made under the assumption that by then most applications will be Hyper-Threading aware and will be optimized to dynamically disable or enable and use Hyper-Threading to improve performance. While the second half of 2003 seems like its incredibly far away, realize that on the desktop the vast majority of applications currently aren't written to take advantage of Hyper-Threading (or written to disable it upon startup). This means that we'd need new versions of all Office applications, games, etc... If the software community does begin coding with Hyper-Threading in mind then this could mean quite a bit for the future of NetBurst based processors.

Index The Future of the PC
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