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Intel preps Pentium D core update

EM64T, single-core operation bugs fixed?

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Intel is to upgrade the cores incorporated into its 'Smithfield' dual-core processors in October, The Register has learned.

The chip maker will offer samples of the updated Pentium Extreme Edition 840 chip and the Pentium D 820, 830 and 840 processors on 5 August, Intel documents reveal, ahead of commercial product availability on 21 October.

The update will see the introduction of a new core, B-0 - the current 'stepping' is A-0 - which will be accompanied by a change in CPUID code from F44 to F47.

The update notification doesn't detail the improvements the B-0 core will bring over the A-0 core, but Intel's most recent Pentium D specification update lists 52 bugs in the A-0 core, of which just seven are marked for a possible fix in a future core stepping. Some or all of these will undoubtedly be resolved by the B-0 core.

Planned fixes include preventing crashes when programmers attempt to switch the dual-core chip into what appears to the operating system to be a single-core part. Other planned fixes centre on the CPUs' support for Intel's EM64T 64-bit addressing system.

Intel isn't expected to extend the PD or PEE chip lines until early next year when it debuts the 65nm incarnations of the chips, together codenamed 'Presler'. Presler will also add support for Intel's Virtualisation Technology, it is believed. ®

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