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Intel's deskbook CPU platform merger plan

Jonah? Merom?

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When exactly does Intel plan to align its desktop and notebook processor families around the same architecture?

Recent roadmaps cited by Japanese web site PC Watch put it in 2006 with the launch of 'Merom' and 'Conroe', the mobile and desktop versions of the Pentium M-derived architecture.

But DigiTimes today cites Taiwanese notebook-maker sources who claim it will happen with 'Jonah', believed to be the predecessor to Merom, possibly as early as H2 2005.

The sources do note that the transition could take place as late as H1 2006, which would seem to put it back into the Merom/Conroe timeframe.

Jonah is expected to ship sometime in 2005 and be fabbed using a 65nm process. The successor to the 90nm Pentium M, 'Dothan', Jonah is believed to have been designed around a pair of Dothan cores each connected to 2MB of shared L2 cache.

The question is, does the earliest/latest dates offered by the Taiwanese sources apply to Jonah alone or to Jonah and Merom/Conroe? Or has Intel brought forward its architecture harmonisation programme to the Jonah generation?

Either way, the move is intended to eliminate the heat dissipation and power consumption problems that have plagued the 90nm desktop Pentium 4 chip, 'Prescott', which is not expected to hit 3.6GHz until June.

Jonah and Merom - the Conroe codename remains unconfirmed, apparently - are being designed by the Israeli team behind the Pentium M.

Before Merom/Conroe arrives, Intel is expected to ship 'Tejas' and 'Cedarmill' in Q2 and Q4 2005, respectively. If the chip giant sticks to this schedule, it's likely that the Merom generation of the Pentium M architecture will be the first to be used in desktop chips, and not Jonah. Unless...

Any information that might clear up this confusion would be gratefully appreciated. ®

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