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Intel pulls into fast lane as workstation plans unfold

Chipzilla wants Desperate Dan size pie

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Roadmap UK readers will be aware of Desperate Dan, a cartoon character in the Dundee publication The Dandy. Pictured as a cowboy with an insatiable appetite, Dan used to shave with a blowtorch and eat enormous cow pies*, complete with horn and tails. What has Desperate Dan to do with Intel? Well, aside from the fact that its CEO Craig Barrett likes huntin', fishin' and, presumably, eatin', Intel wants the biggest cow pie in world -- and that's a huge chunk of the lucrative market. We'll put the Itanium-Merced delicately to the side of our plate for the purpose of this piece, and instead take a gander first, at the company's plans for the IA-32 workstation market. Tomorrow, we will examine Intel's roadmap for the system market. A little time back, we managed to see Intel's roadmap for the workstation and server market. These follow a similar pattern to the desktop roadmap we posted earlier this week, and show that Intel segments these chunks of the market in terms of system prices (with monitor) in three tiers: entry, midrange and high end. We have already covered the Coppermine processor and motherboard introductions which happen early next week. Raghu Murthi, Intel's workstation marketing manager from Dupont, who we met at the end of last week, suggested that some of the entry level workstations could make excellent machines for gamers who are willing to pay the $2,500 and upwards. Intel's own roadmap at the entry level shows systems at 600MHz, utilising512K of cache and a 133MHz system bus coming in at prices of between $2,000 and $3,500. The map shows that in Q1 of next year, this price range will be occupied by 667MHz and 733MHz processors utilising 133MHz buses and 256K cache. In the price range between $3,500 and $5,000, called volume market Intel is positioning 600MHz and 667MHz dual capable parts, with 133MHz buses and 512K and 256K respectively. Around the middle of next year, this price segment will be occupied by 733MHz processors. Intel describes the next level of workstations within the midrange as Performance, covering the price range $5,000 to $7,500. All the parts here are again dual capable. In Q4 this year, this part of the market is occupied by 667/733MHz parts with 133MHz buses and 256K of cache. In the second half of next year, this slice of the cow pie is hogged by 800MHz parts with 256K cache, and towards the end of the year is supplanted by 733MHz parts with 1Mb of cache. The high end of the workstation market consists of four way Pentium III Xeon systems. Initially introduced in Q1 next year, these will be 550MHz processors which use the 100MHz system bus and come with cache of 1Mb and 2Mb. Systems will be priced at $7,500 and upwards. Towards the end of nextyear, this space will be occupied by 750MHz Xeons with 100MHz system buses and 1Mb and 2Mb caches. Intel's map shows that in the sub $3,500 market and in the volume market, which is occupied by Pentium IIIs rather than Pentium III Xeons, there is a relentless transition from the SC242 slot one design to its flip chip socket 370. There are some anomalies here which are hard to figure out. There appears to be some plan afoot to somehow modify Slot 2 (SC330) towards the end of this year and next, probably to do with the on-cartridge voltage regulators. And at the same time, Intel will not use the 133MHz bus in its high end four-way workstation processors and sticks with 100MHz. We're not clear whether this is a marchitectural or an architectural decision. Is it some limitation that four processors imposes? As we will see tomorrow, this restriction applies to its high end servers too. Corporate users can expect to pay a pretty penny for these servers at over $50,000 for a system which has, basically, eight tarted-up Celeron IIIs inside. There is some supplementary but important information about the size of caches Intel will make that are not yet on these Intel slides. Reference the Cashcades story below for more information. ® *An American reader kindly points out that cow pie is cow shit where he comes from. In Britain, a cow pie is a pie with cow in it, as eaten by Desperate Dan. Cow shit, we call cow pats. See also Major Intel roadmaps ahead: please keep left Intel'sh Cashcades to cash in on cache inside

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