IDF Spring 2005: Report from San Francisco

The Silent Front
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The Multi-Core Briefing presented to members of the press by Stephen Smith, Intel's VP of the Digital Enterprise Group, provided much more meat than similar roadmap discussions at previous recent IDFs. Core slides from that presentation are extracted below, with Intel's permission:

Firstly, in case there is any question, What is Multi-Core?

A demo of Pentium Extreme Edition single and dual core systems, one of many at this IDF, indicated performance differences very similar to that of single and dual CPU systems, running on several benchmarks from about 50% to 124% gain. A point Mr. Smith made more than once was that multicore and multi-threading will not be limited to two cores and two threads per core. Intel will expand on multi-core technology over time to increase both the number of cores and the number of threads per core. Yes, they are betting heavily on multicore.

Intel's Move to Multicore is detailed in the following slides. There is a great deal of information here.

Every Intel platform will go multi-core in 2006.

The 2006 percentage figure means that at the end of the year, that's the percentage of multi-core products Intel anticipates shipping.
It is not the percentage they hope to sell for the whole year.

The names keep flying; we'll all struggle to keep up with these oddities, derived from Oregon towns and Yiddish names.

The timelines provided by Intel are surprising. The Pentium Processor EE 840 3.2 GHz high performance dual core processor with Hyperthreading is scheduled to be introduced in Q2 of this year, along with the supporting 955X Express chipset. That's the very next quarter. This is the same introduction schedule as the new "value" dual core Pentium D processor (Smithfield) and its supporting 945 Express chipset. (Somehow the number 4 has been dropped from these names; they have become Pentium EE and Pentium D.)

The next slide shows the key features of the Pentium EE. What's different about the Pentium D? Only one thing: The absence of Hyperthreading. In just about every other way, the two processors will be the same. The demo Pentium EE 840 dual-core was running at 3.2 GHz. Smith cited its Thermal Design Power as 130W. The equivalent Pentium D will be at 95W TDP. These power numbers are higher than current single-core Prescott P4s running at the same speed but at least we can expect to see the dynamic clock and voltage adjustments built into the latest generation of Intel processors, the 600 series, which may help reduce thermals in actual desktop use, but I wouldn't suggest holding your breath.

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