More clock speed for Pentium D with arrival of 900-series

Chicago (IL) - Intel will renovate its complete desktop processor product line in 2006. 65 nm processors will replace current single and dual-core Pentiums, Yonah will be officially introduced as mobile and desktop processor for small form factor devices. But Intel will not be able to increase speed levels dramatically until the arrival of its next-generation processor architecture, Tom's Hardware Guide has learned.

Intel will launch another salvo of product announcement at its upcoming developer forum taking place in San Francisco from August 23 to 25. Many of the code names the company threw out in spring will be detailed with technical specifications and target markets. With the transition from 90 nm to 65 nm processors scheduled for the first quarter of 2006, the company plans to launch five new product families just for the desktop segment: The 65 nm "Cedar Mill" will replace the current 90 nm Celeron D and Pentium 4, the 65 nm "Presler", to be named Pentium D 900, will replace the current 90 nm Pentium D 800 (Smithfield core), the 65 nm "Conroe" is designed to replace the Pentium D 900 late in 2006, and the next-generation Pentium M "Yonah" will be a completely new product for the desktop market.

According to sources, Intel will have to mostly stick to its current clock speed levels, despite the transition to a new product generation. The single-core Cedar Mill will be introduced as a new member in the current 600 series and will be able to be identified in 6x1 (without virtualization) and 6x3 (with virtualization) sequence numbers. The chip will debut as 631/633 with 3.0 GHz clock speed and 2 MByte L2 cache and top out as 673 and 3.8 GHz. The new 65 nm Celeron D, also based on Cedar Mill, is likely to receive a small speed upgrade and will integrate twice the L2 cache (512 kByte) of current Celeron Ds.

The current dual-core Pentium D 800-series will not see a speed bump and retire at the end of the year. The Pentium D 900, based on the "Presler" core and scheduled to enter mass-production in the fourth quarter of this year, will debut as 920 (2.8 GHz), 930 (3.0 GHz), 940 (3.2 GHz) and 950 (3.4 GHz). A higher clock speed beyond 3.4 GHz is "possible", sources told Tom's Hardware Guide. Presler, however, is unlikely to live long enough to see any significant upgrades, since Intel's next-generation processor architecture "Conroe" will already debut in the second half of 2006. Consuming less power than the current Pentium 4 architecture and carrying up to 4 MByte L2 cache, the chip will enable Intel to lift processor performance to a level of a comparable 3.6 GHz dual-core Pentium D with Presler core at debut. Conroe will merge into the Pentium D 900-series as 940, 950 and 960 models, actual clock speeds have not surfaced yet.

While the current Pentium M is not positioned as a desktop processor, the marketing strategy for the next-generation Pentium M/Centrino platform will change dramatically. "Yonah" will be introduced in single- and dual-core flavors in 2006 and aimed not only at notebooks, but also at small form factor PCs (SFF), All-in-one devices and Entertainment PCs (EPCs). The chip will debut with clock speeds from 1.66 to 2.16 GHz and a 667 FSB. Intel will add a 64-bit version of Yonah, code-named "Merom", in the second half of 2006 and increase the clock speed to 2.33 GHz, sources said.