65nm dual-core Pentiums scheduled for Q1 2006

Chicago (IL) - Intel will be busy over the next 12 months: The company will not only introduce its first dual-core processor in the second quarter of this year, but plans substantial upgrades for any current desktop processor on its roadmap: The 500-series will receive 64-bit extensions, the 600-series will be first to offer Vanderpool technology, and 65nm versions of single- and dual-core Pentiums will hit the market in early 2006.

Intel is gearing up for what can be considered the most comprehensive product update for its desktop segment in a long time. The Smithfield dual-core processor, which will be called the 800-series, is the center piece of several launches the company has in store for its customers, according to sources.

The first wave of announcements is due simultaneously with the introduction of the 800-chip. On the lower end, the single-core Pentium 4 processors of the 500-series will receive the 64-bit extensions EM64T that currently are only offered in the manufacturer's Xeon and Pentium 4 600 range. All current 500-chip will get the feature and will receive a number "1" to allow them to be identified. The products range from the Pentium 4 521 (2.8 GHz) to the 571 (3.8 GHz).

New is also the introduction of the virtualization technology Vanderpool (VT) that allows multiple operating systems to share hardware and enable applications for different platforms to run without modification. VT will be initially limited to single-core segment for high-performance corporate mainstream segment, which is covered by the 600-series. Also unique to the Pentium 4 600 chips is the introduction of Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) during the second quarter.

The 800-series will debut at a clock speed of 2.8 GHz (820) and top out at 3.2 GHz (840). In direct comparison to its single-cores, performance should be in the range of about 15 to 35 percent, depending on the type of threaded applications, the sources said.

Early next year, Intel will launch its second stage of product upgrades with a move from a 90nm to a 65nm production process. The single-core Pentium 4 (Prescott) will transition to the "Cedar Mill" core and debut in the 600-family with a clock speed of 3 GHz.

The dual-core, 90nm Smithfield moves to the 65nm "Presler"-core and will also start out at 3 GHz and double the L2 cache of the 90nm version: Instead of 2 x 1024 kByte, Presler will receive 2 x 2048 kByte. Sampling of the single- and dual-core 65nm chips is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year with a product launch to follow in Q1 of 2006.