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Intel to 'ditch' Pentium 4 core after Prescott

Roadmaps in shreds

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Intel will today tear its Pentium 4 and Xeon roadmaps to shreds and announce the cancellation of its 'Tejas' and 'Jayhawk' processors and their successors.

Both chips represent what was to have been the next generation of 90nm Pentium 4 and Xeon, respectively, and were scheduled to arrive in the Q2 2005 timeframe. Chips derived from them include 'Cedarmill' on the desktop, and 'Potomac' and 'Tulsa' in the Xeon series. The future of these chips is now also in question.

According to Reuters, Tejas and Jayhawk are now history. The report doesn't say what Intel will offer instead, but it seems clear that the chip giant has decided to accelerate plans to roll-out desktop processors derived from its Pentium M architecture.

As we reported yesterday and last April, Intel will launch the second-generation, 90nm Pentium M, 'Dothan', on Monday.

Dothan is in due course expected form the basis for 'Jonah', Intel's first two-core Pentium M, due to ship during H2 2005, possibly at 65nm. To date, Jonah has been scheduled to be succeeded by 'Merom' and 'Conroe', two chips based on the same architecture, during H1 2006. While Merom is to be pitched at notebooks, Conroe - crucially - is a desktop chip.

However, it has been suggested recently that Intel might bring forward this bifurcation of the Pentium M line into the desktop space, with the split occurring in the Jonah timeframe. We have speculated that this could only happen if Intel knocks Tejas on the head, which didn't seem likely but now indeed appears to be the case.

And, as we excusively revealed this week, the split will extend to the Xeon line courtesy of 'Whitefield', a new server CPU also based on the Pentium M architecture.

Whitefield is a low-power multi-core Xeon processor that incorporates four Pentium M cores with a shared Level 2 cache. The chip is set to arrive sometime in 2006. Jonah, you'll note, is the same thing but with two Dothan cores. Presumably Intel will manage to double that to four for Whitefield by fabbing the part at 65nm.

Intel has already committed itself publicly to a multi-core future, as has AMD. The heat dissipation/power consumption problems the company has had with the first 90nm desktop Pentium 4, 'Prescott', may well have convinced it that if it's to bring multi-core CPUs to market, its needs to completely rethink the architecture of those cores.

While Prescott consumes more power than its 130nm predecessor, Dothan manages to consume less than 130nm Pentium Ms, despite featuring a die almost twice the size of its predecessor. It also manages to deliver comparable performance to the P4 at a much lower clock speed. No wonder Intel thinks that it might well be the answer to its prayers.

Either way, we look forward to its anticipated clarification later today. ®

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