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Intel misses Pentium 4 goals in 2003

Janus horribilis?
Sun Dec 28 2003, 15:13
In course of time he [Janus] became the god of all going out and coming in, to whom all places of entrance and passage, all doors and gates, were holy.. He is also the god of entrance into a new division of time... in very late times he is represented with a bearded and an unbearded face" - Dictionary of Classic Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art, Oskar Seyffert

Janus IT'S AS WELL to look to the past to determine the future and it's obvious that in 2003 Intel signally failed to live up to its own expectations on the future of its Pentium 4 technology.

By now, according to roadmaps Intel was dishing out to its OEMs in December last year and which we saw, we ought to all have been enjoying the fruits of a 3.40+ Prescott microprocessor at 90 nanometres. But Intel has reached the end of the road on the Northwood .13µ process and problems with heat on Prescott have caused Intel to shove this chip out until Q1 next year - which starts pretty soon now, as we all know.

In fact, Intel hit the glass ceiling at 3.20GHz during 2003, and while distributors may have SKUs for Pentium 4Es, sort of Prescotts, ready for the new year, these chips don't seem to be quite everything Intel had hoped for.

Is a Pentium 4 produced at 90 nanometres a full blown Prescott? Not unless Mr Prescott has been re-defined.

Will Moore's Law get re-defined as time goes on? We suspect that it depends how you define the "Law", but large Pentium 4 "Extreme Edition Gallatin" processors don't follow the usual Megahertz Myth path.

Ninety nanometre Pentium 4s which may be "half Prescotts" and certainly not quite everything Intel and the rest of the world+dog hoped for, are set to displace current Pentium 4 clock speeds as Q1 2004 gets underway.

It's not that AMD queered Intel's roadmaps during 2003, although we saw signs of such slippery roads when the larger X86 firm introduced the Gallatin Xeon Pentium 4 at the autumn Intel Developer Forum. It's more that Intel's attempt to follow its familiar path with processors offering more and more megahertz has run out of steam because of current Pentium 4 designs and heat problems, it seems to us.

But we do think that AMD's ability to shove Opterons and Clawhammers out of the door during 2003 has modified its future roadmappery, and it's finding itself in ever decreasing cycles on the Pentium 4 front.

We'll have more on the Prescott future in the coming days between now and the New Year - and we're also set to announce our awards for microprocessors during 2004. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Pentium 4 doesn't garner many accolades, although Intel has done well in other realms. µ


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