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Intel Roadmap News 10/2000: Part One, Desktop Processors And Chipsets

Coppermine-T And Tualatin

The most logical step to improve Coppermine is obviously to shrink its die down to a 0.13 micron process . This is exactly what is going to happen, but it is by far not all. The next proper version of Pentium III will use a core with the code name 'Tualatin ' and it comes with the following specs:

  • 1.13 / 1.26 GHz at launch date
  • 512kB on-die L2 Cache
  • Differential Clocking = a new clock spec
  • VRM 8.5 = a new voltage spec
  • AGTL (1.2VTT) replaces AGTL+ (1.5VTT) = a new bus spec
  • AGP 4X 1.5 V
  • CPU will look more like current SocketA processors with the four pads, but with an additional ring around the flip chip to make sure that it doesn't get destroyed by the heat sink, called FC-PGA2 = FC-PGA with integrated Heat Spreader. FCPGA2-processor will be 3.5 mm high instead of FCPGA's height of only 1.9 mm.

On the first look the doubled L2-cache size of Tualatin looks most interesting to the majority of you, but you can see that the modified clock supply, voltage and bus spec will require a new platform for this future Pentium III processor. Currently there's only one chipset in Intel's roadmap that is supposed to cater for Tualatin, the 'Almador ' or i830 chipset, which I will discuss in the chipset section.

Intel is fully aware of the fact that owners of current Pentium III platforms might want to upgrade to the new 'Tualatin'-core as well, so it will throw in another Pentium III version with the so-called 'Coppermine-T' core, which will also be manufactured in 0.13-process. This core will probably only come with 256 kB L2-cache (it might be 512 kB though; we are not sure) and it will be able to run on 'Almador'-platforms as well as on current Pentium III motherboards with Intel's i810, i815, i820 and i840 or VIAs 694x chipsets.

Both processors are currently targeted for Q3/2001 , which seems extremely late. Intel seems to think that the high-end community will indeed go for Pentium 4, as 1 GHz will remain the limit of Pentium III until Tualatin's release. I personally expect that we will see Tualatin and Coppermine-T a lot earlier next year.

Celeron

We all know that Celeron has lost almost all of its attractiveness since the release of AMD's Duron-processor. Celeron is still specified to run at mediocre 66 MHz FSB, which is the main reason why Intel's low-cost solution lags so far behind AMD's in terms of clock-for-clock performance. Finally Intel is under enough pressure to enable 100 MHz FSB for Celeron , but according to the roadmap we'll have to wait until Q2/2001 , when Intel will finally bless us with the Celeron 850. All overclockers know that this CPU has become reality a long time ago, because it's what you get when you run a Celeron 566 at 100 MHz FSB.

I am expecting to see Intel introducing the Celeron 850/100 a lot earlier than Q2/2001. It only depends on how boldly AMD's Duron is able to destroy Intel's current Celeron sales.