Intel preps second generation dual-core: Pentium D 900 series

Chicago (IL) - AMD and Intel are getting close to the launch dates of their first dual-core processors. While AMD is likely to be first to announce its dual-core, Intel has begun briefing system manufacturers on its next generation dual-core Pentium D, Tom's Hardware Guide has learned. "Presler" will be manufactured in 65 nm, run at up to 3.4 GHz and come with 4 MByte L2 cache.

Intel leaves no doubt that it follow through on the bold dual-core processor promises it made at its Spring developer forum in San Francisco. The switch from a 90 to a 65 nm manufacturing process will bring a new desktop and notebook processor generation that will succeed the current Pentium M, Celeron M, Pentium 4 5xx, Pentium 4 6xx and Pentium D/EE 8xx early in 2006.

The business desktop product line will see a transition to the Lyndon platform this quarter which will include the Pentium 4 6xx and Pentium D 8xx processors as well as the 945 and 955 chipsets. Intel plans to replace Lyndon with "Averill" in the second quarter of next year: High-performance desktops will ship with a 65 nm Prescott dual-core, officially named the "900 series". In combination with the "Broadwater CS" chipset, the processors will support Intel's virtualization and a second generation Active Management technology. The mainstream business lineup, called the "stable image platform program" transitions to Presler and the single-core Cedar Mill, the 65 nm successor of Prescott. Cedar Mill will be introduced in the range of the 6xx series and be coupled to the 945 chipset. The current 500 series will be phased out by the second quarter of 2006.

Presler will also make its way quickly into high-performance and mainstream consumer systems. Intel will offer the chip as regular Pentium D 900 series with the Broadwater CS chipset as well an updated Extreme Edition processor for high end computers. "Lifestyle and entertainment PC platforms" will be targeted by the new 65 nm chips Presler and Cedar Mill as well as the 90 nm 800 series (Smithfield). The entry-level segment will be served by the Celeron with Prescott core and speeds between 2.4 GHz (Celeron D 320) and 3.33 GHz (355). The current Pentium 4 5xx series based on the Prescott core will continue to be available in the mainstream segment (531 processor with 64-bit extensions and 3.0 GHz clock).

According to sources, Intel has no plans to increase the clock speed of the 800 series through the second quarter of next year. The 840 chip with 3.2 GHz will remain the fastest chip of the family. The 900 series will debut as 92x, 93x, 94x and 95x with clock speeds of 2.8, 3.0, 3.2 and 3.4 GHz, respectively. The 900 will be based on LGA775 packaging and offer twice the cache of the 800 series. Instead of 1 MByte L2 per core, Presler will integrate 2 MByte for a total of 4 MByte per processor.

The mobile dual-core processor "Yonah" appears to be on track for a Q1 2006 introduction with low-voltage versions of the 65 nm chip also appearing on the roadmap. Yonah will debut as x20, x30, x40, and x50 models with clock speeds of 1.67, 1.83, 2.0 and 2.17 GHz. The low-voltage x38 and x48 are clocked at 1.5 and 1.67 GHz.

For the first time Intel also talks about a single-core Yonah chip, which will be released by Intel as the Celeron D 400 series. The single-core offering however is limited to a 1.67 GHz chip and two low-voltage models with unspecified speeds.