Feeds

Desktop Dothans 'will not replace Prescott'

Not good for HyperThreading

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intel's upcoming Pentium M-based desktop processor, possibly codenamed Conroe, will not support the company's HyperThreading technology, it has emerged.

And Intel's Prescott Pentium 4 line-up will survive the arrival of Conroe, an unnamed company marketing rep revealed this week.

According to Geek.com, which cites said Intel staffer, the chip giant will indeed bring the Pentium M 'Dothan' core to the desktop - but not as a Prescott replacement.

The reason? Dothan's shorter pipeline is "poorly suited" to HyperThreading, which leverages under-utilised processor maths units and other trickery to fool the host operating system into thinking it's running on a two-way box.

HT remains a key part of Intel's desktop processor marketing, particularly in the consumer space, so it would be difficult for it to turn round in a couple of years and say that the technology is suddenly less relevant than it once was.

The Intel rep mentioned the possible arrival of dual-core Prescotts by the end of 2005 - presumably as Intel moves down into the 65nm domain - and noted that with HT in place, they will effectively operate as quad-core devices.

Not so Dothan-derived chips, which will be pushed at devices that need to run more quietly - and thus more coolly - than any future Prescott box is likely to.

It's not hard to foresee Intel segmenting its desktop Pentium line to target a broader range of machines, even though clearly they'll all be x86 PCs under the hood. Prescott will be pushed at performance-sensitive applications (desktop PCs, home media servers and the like) while Dothan-based Pentiums will be pitched at fanless, living room-based devices - much as VIA is currently doing today with its C3 x86 chip and Micro ATX form-factor.

Intel is increasingly keen to drive the chip sales by touting platforms rather than processors. A case in point is Centrino, which is promoted more as a usage model than as a CPU type. The chip giant is starting to do the same kind of thing in the desktop space - its entertainment PC concept, is one example - though it has yet to start branding its desktop platforms in the way it has with Centrino.

In any case, HT is arguably a broad enough brand name to take in a multi-core Pentium M-based chip. After all, like today's HT-enabled P4s, it will be able to run two threads simultaneously. There's nothing in the HT branding that specifies how that thread-level parallelism is to be achieved, only that multi-threading is there. You're simply replacing one chip with single physical core behaving like two logical cores with another chip that contains two physical cores operating as two logical cores.

A dual-core Dothan might conceivably still consume less power and dissipate less heat than a single-core Prescott running at a comparable speed. ®

Related stories

Intel preps P4 core update
Intel ships mobile Prescott P4s
Intel to ship 64-bit Prescotts on 1 August
Intel grabs 21 June for Grantsdale launch
Intel moots Centrino-style home PC platform
Intel launches Dothan with Pentium M price cuts
Intel to 'ditch' Pentium 4 core after Prescott
Intel's deskbook CPU platform merger plan
Hitachi preps Pentium M desktop PC
Intel confirms Pentium model numbers

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.