Intel to bring 64-bit to P4, Celerons in Q2

EM64T coming to value, mainstream desktops too

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Roadmap Intel plans to upgrade its current LGA-775 Pentium 4 line-up with its AMD64-like EM64T 64-bit addressing technology next quarter, the company's latest roadmap update reveals.

Intel also plans to add the technology to its top-end Celeron processors.

According to a report on the usually accurate Japanese site PCWatch, Q2 2005 will see the debut of P4s carrying the model numbers 521, 531, 541, 551, 561 and 571, clocked liked today's P4 line-up at 2.8, 3.0, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6 and 3.8GHz, respectively. The single point added to the model number represents the effect of enabling EM64T. The new chips will supersede today's P4s, ensuring that all P4s support the technology come Q2.

Today's mainstream P4s are equipped with EM64T, but it's disabled. The 64-bit system only ships today on a series of P4s aimed at single-processor workstation and server roles.

The arrival of EM64T into the desktop space will take occur later this quarter with the debut of the P4 6xx series, which not only add the 64-bit addressing capability but also a 2MB on-die L2 cache, double today's P4 cache size and likewise double the cache of the upcoming 5x1 P4s.

Curiously, some appear to have a very short lifespan, with the 2.8GHz version not surviving the quarter even, and the 571 and 561 being culled at the end of Q3. Their demise is presumably predicated on the successful roll-out of 'Smithfield', the 90nm dual-core P4 8xx series, now scheduled to ship late Q2, but with volume shipments probably not arriving until Q3.

Both the new 5x1 P4 line-up and the 6xx P4s appear to be scheduled for replacement in the Q2 2006 timeframe, when they'll be pushed aside by 'Cedarmill', Intel's 65nm single-core desktop CPU. It will ship in the same quarter as 'Presler', the 65nm successor to Smithfield.

Also marked for termination is the P4 Extreme Edition, which gets no upgrade beyond this quarter's 3.73GHz version, and doesn't appear to extend beyond Q4 2005.

Back to Q2 2005, and we'll see the debut of desktop Celerons with model number 326, 331, 336, 341, 346 and 351, clocked at 2.53, 2.66, 2.8, 2.93, 3.06 and 3.2GHz, respectively. Like the new P4s, they too will sport EM64T support.

All this activity on the EM64T front strongly suggests that Microsoft will finally release the completed 64-bit version of Windows XP in the H1 2005 timeframe. Intel always said it would not push EM64T out into the mainstream until key operating systems supported 64-bit addressing. Linux has for some time, of course, but to make 64-bit computing mainstream, you need Windows behind you.

Like the P4 line, the EM64T-equipped Celerons will replace the existing LGA-775 Celerons, though older, 478-pin versions will continue to be made available. Q3 will see a further addition to the family: the 3.33GHz Celeron 355. ®

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