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Intel commits to multi-core Pentiums, Xeons, Itanics

Tanglewood and Tulsa untangled

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IDF Intel today confirmed what we revealed some time ago: that the next-but-one generation of Itanium processor, codenamed 'Tanglewood', will be a multi-core chip.

It also unveiled its dual-core strategy for the IA-32 server chip family, Xeon, and said it would bring the technique to its mainstream CPUs over time.

Tanglewood will succeed 'Montecito', the dual-core, one billion-transistor Itanic due in 2005, said Intel COO Paul Otellini at Intel Developer Forum today. He offered no tighter timeframe figures than that.

As we reported back in March this year, Tanglewood is the first Itanium worked on by the Alpha team Intel acquired from Compaq a few years back. Indeed, their development efforts arguably began while they were working at Compaq. Techniques that emerged there have since been applied to the IA-64 architecture.

Otellini announced that Tanglewood's design goal is to offer "at least seven times the processing" power of Madison, aka the Itanium 2.

Meanwhile, Xeon's next incarnation, 'Potomac', will be followed by 'Tulsa', Otellini said, the first dual-core Xeon. He didn't say so, but if IA-64 is going multi-core, it's a good bet Xeon will in due course.

Ditto Pentium: "We're driving it down to PCs and notebooks," said Otellini. "We'll go from putting HyperThreading in our products to putting dual-core capability in our mainstream client processors over time."

Like Xeon today and Potomac, Tulsa will also feature HyperThreading, enabling the chip to process four threads simultaneously. Tulsa release timeframe is two to three years off, Otellini said.

Potomac, the first 90nm Xeon MP, is due to ship next year, with Tulsa following in 2005 or 2006. ®

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