Pentium 4 to hit 2GHz next year
And Willamette-479 drops a pin
An update to the Intel desktop roadmap seen by Bert McComas, senior analyst at InQuest, has revealed how seriously the firm is viewing increased competition from both AMD and Via.
According to McComas, who will shortly publish an overview of his conclusions on his Web site, the Pentium 4, a 0.18 micron IA-32 based microprocessor which uses Rambus memory and the i850 Tehama chipset is still on schedule for the fourth quarter of this year.
But, as first revealed here from the Computex show last June, there will be a further rev of the Pentium 4 slated for volume production in the third quarter of next year, using a different package. That will form part of a move to the Northwood Pentium 4, which is likely to hit 2GHz+ clock speeds at launch.
Again as reported here, Intel is pressing ahead with its plans for the die-shrink Tualatin using a 0.13 micron process, which will support a 200MHz frontside bus (FSB). Those microprocessors could arise as early as the second quarter of next year, but are likely to be high spec, high priced chips, given that Intel will take quite some time to migrate to the 0.13 micron process in its factories (fabs).
McComas says that the Pentium 4 will support 2x and 4x data rate models for the frontside bus, allowing bandwidths of 1.6Gbps, 2.1Gbps, 3.2Gbps and 4.26Gbps. The Tehama chipset will sync with a dual-channel Rambus subsystem. Despite these innovations, he thinks that 1.2GHz AMD Athlons and Pentium IIIs will still outperform the earlier 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz Pentium 4s. Intel has told The Register previously that early samples cannot be expected to show the performance gains in the final product.
The Pentium 4, codenamed Northwood, will shrink to 0.13 micron and be delivered to customers in the second half of next year, displacing the Pentium III platform and, at the lower end, be available with the so-called Brookdale SDRAM chipset, which is likely to support double data rate (DDR) memory.
But, before then, as reported here, Intel will change the socket. Since we first reported the 479-pin Willamette, Intel has decided to drop one pin and is now naming the package the mPGA478. McComas believes the extra 55 pins are related to additional power consumption needs.
The Tualatin Pentium III die shrink is expected to ship in the second half of next year with 200MHz frontside buses.
According to McComas, Intel will release its ICH3 south bridge chip in the middle of next year. As reported here earlier, that will support six USB 2.0 ports, and other integrated features. Some Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers told us at Computex in June that they were unhappy attempting to sell two different Willamette packages in such a short space of time.
The Brookdale chipset, which is an SDRAM support set for the Willamette Pentium 4 family, is to sample in early Q2 next year, as reported here. McComas believes that it will also support DDR, as a fast microprocessor like these newer Pentium 4s would be limited if it only supported PC-133 memory.
However, as McComas says and as we also believe, Intel will still have some difficulties competing with AMD on the performance curve. It has not yet completed the move from 0.25 micron to 0.18 micron fab technology, and it beggars belief that it will be able to completely switch production to 0.13 micron for at least another 18 months.
McComas suggests that the only market for Rambus memory in the desktop will be the Tehama chipset by the end of this year, and he also believes that Intel is relegating RIMM solutions to machines costing over $2000.
Although there appears to be little new information about Timna, roadmaps we saw in Taiwan indicated a Timna+ chip in the second half of next year. There is some indication that this could be a Timna with a Willamette (Pentium 4) core, according to sources familiar with Intel's plans. ®
You can find the InQuest Web Site here.
Willamette Pentium 4 may be delayed
Intel's cunning 200MHz to scupper AMD
Rambus, Pentium 4: The Hall of Mirrors
Pentium 4 to use SDRAM
Intel server maps show Foster incursion
Pentium 4 pricing revealed
Pentium 4 in pictures
Intel's Timna has dead duck look'n'feel
Tulloch and Willamette plans firm up
Willamette to have frighteningly short shelf life
Computex 2000 coverage
The three flavours of Willamette
Intel does u-turn on Willamette and synchronous memory
Large corporations need 2GHz chips
Willamette explained by Willamettian