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Willamette won't launch at 1.5GHz this autumn

Inner secrets of Screaming Sindie II

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Intel Developer Forum We were privileged this afternoon to have a round table briefing from Dr Albert Yu, a senior VP at the Intel Corporation, and the man who unleashed a 1.5GHz on the world stage earlier today. We had some of those pesky questions to ask him about the product, and in the process, unearthed some interesting anomalies. Dr Yu refused to say how much on-die cache was on the processor he introduced today, would not give a delivery date for the product and when we asked him about the die size and how many additional transistors were on the Willamette, he said the die size was "slightly bigger" than the Coppermine. However, he did say it was unlikely that when Willamette launches on the 1st October or thereabouts, it would reach such 1.5GHz speeds. He said: "It's unlikely it will launch at that speed. This is a very first raw look at the silicon." Further, said Yu, from one generation to the next you can expect a 30 per cent increase. As Intel will "very shortly" sample 1GHz Coppermines to its key customers, it won't be hard for those people with calculators to figure out what clock speed it will launch at. Willamette, unlike Foster, its next-gen server platform based on the same core, will be based on Rambus technology. Foster, the server/workstation version of Willamette, will go out of the door with DDR memory. The reasons for this so far remain unclear, but may be something to do with what Intel customers want. Yu said: "The current version of the [Willamette] chipset only supports Rambus. Synchronous memory performance will be mediocre. For the forseeable future, Rambus will be on desktops." The extra instructions in Screaming Sindie II will help give Willamette a strong position in the marketplace, said Yu. He also confirmed that the ALU (arithmetical logical unit) in the Willamette, runs twice as fast as other slabs of the microprocessor, and that meant the CPU had two different clocks. The Pentium brand will not go away, said Yu, but he declined to say whether Willamette will be called the Pentium IV. Nor would Yu be drawn on exactly how Intel will manage the transition between manufacturing Willamette in 100s of thousands by year end and millions next year, and how exactly Intel will manage that transition between the Coppermine processor and Willamette, given that its sixth .18 micron fab starts up in the second half of this year, and that Chipzilla will start to manufacture in .13 micron at the end of next year. Nor how the transition of wafers from eight to 13-inch will impact this whole process. ® Intel Developer Forum: Spring 2000 Full coverage

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