vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Review: Intel 2004 Roadmap Updates

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 9 November 2004, 00:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa4k

Add to My Vault: x

Intel 2004 Roadmap Updates

I started a series on industry roadmap updates back in February, covering product launches from a bunch of companies in the four quarters they like to split the year into. While the Q1 and Q2 articles went down really well, I struggled to beg borrow and steal roadmaps for Q3 so that article slipped into the ether. Q4 is a similar story and with the year fast approaching its end. However, a juicy morsel of information from the mighty Intel quietly slipped into my topsecretro@dmaps.com mailbox a couple of weeks ago and I've got an excuse for a quick article today on Intel's future plans.

Most of it is public knowledge (canning of the 4GHz P4 380, a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 570 release but no sampling to press), but there should be some tasty tidbits of information that are worth imparting, that's not been seen before.

With 2004 drawing to a close, a lot of Intel's platform plans, for everything from mobile to Itanium, have a 2005 focus. That includes the launch of the 6-series Pentium 4, dual-core processors, Active Management, EM64T support in desktop processors and Intel's new Xeon focus. Let's jump right in.

Desktop dual core

Intel's roadmap for dual core (chip multi-threading or CMT) processors extends across the entire range of its products. The desktop processor range gets dual core in the form of Smithfield. Smithfield sports 1MB of exclusive L2 cache per processor and rides the 200MHz system bus using the LGA775 form factor. Most of the desktop P4 features of the day will make their way into the cores too, including EM64T (more on which soon) and NX-bit support. You'll notice that HyperThreading doesn't feature.

Intel has yet to decide on a leading number for the naming scheme for those CPUs and it looks likely to drop Pentium as a brand name. The leading candidate for the processor brand name, as reported on a few websites, is Digital. With an educated guess giving the CPU 8-series naming, look out for the Intel Digital 820 (2.8GHz), 830 (3.0GHz) and 840 (3.2GHz) CMT processors sometime in 2005.

Xeon dual core

Xeon gets CMT too with codenamed Blackford and Greencreek processors in 2006. They'll also be the first Xeon CPUs to get independent bus links to the host bridge (yay!!!), the overriding limiter of Xeon's performance up against the unrestricted Opteron, a CPU that revels in its point-to-point HyperTransport links to the rest of the CPUs in an multi-processor systems. Other than the funky codenames, I can't find much else in terms of new features. Look out for increased DDR2 memory support, the NX bit, EM64T and no HyperThreading though, like Smithfield.

Mobile dual core

CMT also makes an appearance in the mobile space with Yonah, a CMT core based on the current Dothan design ethos. Platform wise, Napa is the core logic that lets Yonah run on a 166MHz bus (667MHz), run with DDR2-667 memory and support PCI Express. Both are things to look out for in 2006 however so no doubt things will change a bit before then.

Xeon in 2005

Xeon shadows the Pentium 4 6-series line in 2005 with 2M of L2 cache, EM64T and a 200MHz bus clock. Called Irwindale, it's simply a 2MB L2 version of the Nocona-1M core that currently powers the Xeon range. Clock speeds with Xeon won't get any faster than they already are however. With Nocona topping out at 3.6GHz currently, you won't see a 3.8GHz version of that core until early 2006. Irwindale won't go faster than 3.6GHz in 2005 either. So bar an L2 size jump, the Xeon DP CPU range is pretty stagnant for the next 12 months or so.

FB-DIMM

FB-DIMM makes an appearance a few times in the roadmap update with the most prominent mentions when tied to the CMT Xeon platform in 2006. It looks like Intel will try it out there first, before any desktop deployment.

Mobile platform in 2005

Intel will release its Sonoma core logic for the Pentium-M in 2005, supporting PCI Express, DDR2-533 memory and a 533MHz system bus for Dothan. 533MHz bus for Dothan means the NX-bit too. Intel will also release a few low-voltage and ultra-low-voltage Dothan CPUs in 2005. Pricing for Dothan in 2005 tops out at around $800 for the 780, a 2.26GHz CPU.

Pentium 4 in 2005

The Pentium 4 sees quite a lot of action in 2005, despite Intel's removal of a 4GHz version from their planned roadmaps. CPU wise, there's a 3.76GHz Extreme Edition in Q1 2005. A $1000 CPU, it's the first Extreme Edition not to use the Gallatin-2M Xeon-derived core. A Prescott-2M design instead, it's the first desktop Pentium 4 to have EM64T support. The NX-bit feature also makes an appearance and it'll ride the 1066MHz system bus currently supported by the 925XE core logic.

Speaking of 925XE, Intel has dropped the ECC support, moving it out of Intel's high-end uni-processor workstation plans.

New chipsets for Pentium 4 in 2005 are Lakeport and Glenwood. Lakeport is analogous to the current Granstdale core logic and fills the mainstream space. It features 1066MHz bus support, DDR2-667 support and will come twinned with the ICH7 southbridge.

Lakeport-G adds an integrated graphics processor with twice the Intel Extreme Graphics 3 performance found in Grantsdale-G (i915G).

Glenwood is Alderwood-like with all of Lakeport's features, just with support for a tweaked memory interface with fast paths, and support for up to 8GB of memory with ECC. Lakeport tops out at 4GB without ECC in that regard.

The 6-series Pentium 4 processors also launch in 2005. They're all Prescott-2M based, with EM64T support, support for the NX-bit and riding an 800MHz system bus. Throughout 2005, the Extreme Edition will remain the sole, rather expensive, benefactor of the 1066MHz system bus. Overclockers will look to take a bite of that cherry with the 5 and 6-series processors.

Finally, there's also some mobile Pentium 4 action. The P4M 552 is a 3.46GHz processor with 1MB of L2 launches in January and will cost $294 in quantity. The 548, set to launch right at the end of this year, is a 3.33GHz part.

Desktop chipset pricing

A quick bit on chipset pricing. Despite 925XE's introduction recently, 925X is still a $50 component on your mainboard with 925XE also joining it at that price point where that pricing will stay well into Q1 2005. Other chipset pricing is static until December 26th, when things fall a few dollars.

Itanium

The 9M Madison Itanium (9MB of L2 cache memory, 400MHz system bus) launches today with the 667MHz bus version delayed a quarter to Q3 2005. The entire Itanium CPU range won't top 1.6GHz in 2005, with the 9M version launching at 1.6GHz too. Montecito, CMT Itanium, is now a Q4 2005 product, pushed back a quarter. Today's 1.6GHz Itanium 2 9M is a cool $4200 in volume, per processor. With it showing up mostly in 8-way systems, that's a fair chunk of change just for your processors in those big iron setups.

Summary

For the enthusiast and workstation followers, it's easy to summarise the roadmap and its vision.

2005 for the Pentium 4 means no more than 3.8GHz, EM64T, a new Extreme Edition on the 1066MHz bus, a couple of new chipsets that support DDR2-667 and dual-core P4 right at the end of the year.

Xeon gets a basic 2M DP part but nothing faster than 3.6GHz.