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Intel Moves From Dual Core To Double Core

65 nm Intel Double Core Preslers Forward

Last Friday we provided a first look at Intel's upcoming Pentium 4 processor, code-named Cedar Mill . Besides its lower power consumption and acceptable thermal figures, the interesting part about this chip is the fact that it is being used in the next generation dual core Pentium D processor. Presler, as the new chip is code named, is created by fitting two single core Cedar Mill chips into one LGA package for Socket 775. Rather than dual core, we'd tend to call the new chip a double core product.

Fortunately, neither 65 nm product requires a new platform; both will work on the 945 and 955 chipset motherboards that are prevalent today. Users of 915 or 925 platforms will have no option but to change their motherboard, since the initialization sequence of the dual core processors required a change to the pinout. Either way, you will need a BIOS update in order to get full support for the new chip. This is particularly important for Intel's virtualization technology (VT) that will debut with the 65 nm chip generation in selected products.

When comparing the Pentium D 900 Presler to the current Pentium D 800 series based on Smithfield, we see not only the die shrink from 90 to 65 nm. In addition to VT you may recall that two Cedar Mill type chips result in a total L2 cache size of 2x2 MB for the Presler double core, while Smithfield incorporates only two 1 MB L2 caches. We expect this difference to be reflected in slightly better benchmark results, as seen with the cache bump that Intel applied to the Prescott core.

So in contrast to the Cedar Mill single core, we expect the Presler dual core to outperform Smithfield in cache-sensitive benchmarks. At the same time, the power consumption levels should achieve successful re-entry into Earth's atmosphere...

Presler or Smithfield? There is no doubt that the 65 nm chip is going to be much better, though it won't be able to attack AMD's Athlon 64 X2, at least for the time being.