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Intel making 800MHz-capable Pentium IIIs

Has it shipped or hasn't it? Both, says confused Chipzilla techie

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Intel is already making Pentium III processors capable of operation at over 800MHz, it emerged yesterday. Speaking at the International Electron Devices conference, Chipzilla engineers described the modification the company has made to its 0.18 micron CMOS process. Afterwards, Tahir Ghani, an Intel senior engineer, said the company had "made Pentium III devices but not shipped yet", according to EE Times. He then said: "Some devices have shipped, but we haven't announced that yet... The clock frequency is better than 800 MHz." All of which sounds like Chipzilla has the things out there and is ready to hoist the 'runs at 800MHz' flag just before arch-rival AMD gets there. The modification, called the notched-poly process, essentially squeezes transistor gate widths down from 0.13 microns to 0.1 microns by cutting a notch in the gate's polysilicate base. And not only is the transistor smaller, but its electrical properties are improved, leading to reduced current leakage and a higher drive current. In practical terms, that means the chip can operate at a lower voltage than a regular 0.18 micron CPU. Intel's team wouldn't say how notched-poly has been added to the CMOS process, but they did say the modification required no extra steps in the fabrication process -- "it's cost-free", said Ghani. ®

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