Competition For AMD's "Hammer": P4 With 3.6 GHz And 3.33 GHz
Initially, the news was that AMD's Hammer would surely be clawing its way to us at the end of this year. Then came the next announcement: not just yet. Even the chip manufacturer's best contacts around the world sometimes fail to shed any light; then there's that gut feeling that tells the insider that it won't be long now, that there's still potential in the Athlon XP types with the Thoroughbred core. So let's first banish all uncertainty: the Athlon successor will be launched at the start of 2003 at the earliest.
When AMD recently introduced the fast Athlon XP 2600+ with a modified Thoroughbred B core At The Last Second: AMD's Trump Card - The Athlon XP 2600+ , marketing strategists at Intel immediately began to signal a change of course so that the 3.06 GHz variation on the Pentium 4, originally planned for January 2003, will already be available this year. Interestingly, Intel is confident enough to pit the Pentium 4 against AMD next year, too, where the P4 will run up against the long-anticipated AMD Claw Hammer, which, like the current processors, will be sold under the Athlon label. That's because the new P4 with Prescott core was initially postponed until mid-2003, leaving only Intel able to field high clock speeds.
That said, in view of the use of the 0.13 µm manufacturing technology, clock speed has its limits. The highest level of development for the P4 with Northwood core will be the 3.6 GHz version. If the rumors are true, Intel won't launch it until the first half of 2003.
The Intel Pentium 4 with 3.6 GHz: it won't be on the market for another ten months. The FSB will remain at 133 MHz (corresponds to 533 MHz quad-pumped).
It's become standard for THG to take forthcoming processors at an early stage and test them for performance and compatibility at the Munich laboratory. Already in February of this year we were able to present the P4/2666, P4/2533 and P4/2400 in Behind The Silicon Curtain: Exclusive Test Of The P4/2666 With 533 MHz Rambus - at the time, the most that was available was the P4/2200.
With the current top version there's almost 1000 MHz more against the top score back then (2666 MHz) - exactly 3600 MHz. Compared to the current top model with 2.8 GHz, there are virtually no differences; only the core speed has been raised by 29%. The Front Side Bus continues to operate at 133 MHz, the multiplier is 27 (the two weaker versions run on 25 and 23). So, there's virtually no trace of any increase to 166 MHz FSB speed - in contrast to the enemy camp.
In order to provide an extensive overview of the performance of all the P4 types for the coming ten months, we've also included the P4/3333 and P4/3066.
The design of future P4 CPUs will not change. Starting with the 3.06 GHz version (to be launched in November 2002), virtual multi-processing (Hyperthreading) will be supported.