Intel's New Weapon: Pentium 4 Prescott

Production Yield Per Wafer & Pricing

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In contrast to the 200 mm wafers AMD uses, Intel's 300 mm Pizza-pie size models offer much more space. We have analyzed the theoretical amount of processors on each of those wafers in order to talk about availability, prices and finally the success of a processor (see above).

It's either delightful or depressing (that depends on your personal view) to see how many processors can be made of one single wafer. The theoretical limit should be 588 Prescott processors in case of Intel's 300 mm wafers and 148 Opteron/Athlon64 FX CPUs with AMD's 200 mm models. Even if Intel yielded only 40%, it would still gain more than double the amount of processors than AMD with a 60% yield. Still you should not forget that Intel usually has to supply larger customers than AMD, and has the fab capacity to do so.

Wafer fab, 85% yields are definitely possible and are being hit from time to time, but in mass production facilities, even a 70% yield is considered sufficiently high. When a production facility starts to begin producing a a new product, yield rates usually are tremendously lower until the production process begins to ramp up and begins producing mass-scale volumes.

Since Intel definitely won't risk delivery bottlenecks we suppose that the Prescott processor yield is at least 50%. That is backed by the fact that Intel's latest roadmap allows for 4 GHz processors still this year.

In order to make Prescott's introduction as smooth as possible, Intel chose the simplest pricing model possible. While they don't give the processors away for free, but they are not more expensive than Northwood either.