Intel lays out processor road map at IDF

Pentium Processor Extreme Edition and the D processor are among dual-core offerings

SAN FRANCISCO -- At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Tuesday, Intel laid out the processor and platform road map for its much-discussed dual-core, hyper-threaded processors.

Targeted for all segments of its market, which includes, servers, desktops, and mobile, the giant chip maker plans no less than 15 different dual-core projects by the end of 2006.

In its initial roll out in the second quarter 2005, Intel will introduce the Pentium Processor Extreme Edition along with the 955X chipset. The dual-core processors will run at 3.2GHz, include 1MB of L2 cache, one megabyte per core, and an 800MHz front side bus.

Typically, it takes from three to six months following a chip introduction for OEMs to produce finished products for the market.

In addition to the Extreme Edition, Intel will also launch the D processor, code-named Smithfield, with a 945 Express Chipset.

While both systems are dual core, the Extreme edition core will have four-thread capability, while the D processor will run only a single thread on each core.

Over time, processors in the desktop Pentium line will ramp up to eight threads per dual processor, while dual core processors in the Xeon and Itanium server product line will have as many as 32 threads, according to Stephen Smith, vice president of the Digital Enterprise Group, at Intel.

On the server side, the Itanium servers later this year will see the introduction of Montecito, a dual core processor with four threads. For mobile, the first dual-core processor will also be available in 2005, code-named Yonah.

By the end of 2006, Smith said that 85 percent of its server line, 70 percent of its mobile and desktop line will ship with dual cores. However, Smith added, the single core processors will continue to be produced and used by the OEMs.

While the benefits of multi-threaded applications has been available for quite some time on the server side, Smith said, the addition of a dual-core will serve to leverage those performance capabilities onto two processors.

“Multi-core brings to servers, more execution resources per thread,” Smith said. He also pointed out that dual cores are ideal for high density datacenters where more compute power can be squeezed into rack mounted systems.

“It’s more performance per cubic foot,” said Smith.

Smith also believes that dual-core systems are optimal for virtualized environments and for SOAs.

On the desktop side, consumers will see benefits for gaming and for those using a PC as the command center for a home entertainment system with audio, video, and pictures.

While the vice president dropped a lot of code names for future products, such as Cedar Mill in 2006, a workstation edition, Dempsey in first quarter 2006, and Dimona, an Itanium-based system, there were scant details beyond the names and the fact that they are dual core.

The message from Smith was stay tuned.

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