Pentium III forever

— 11:44 PM on July 23, 2000

Have a look at this EBN report, which claims Intel will be moving the Pentium III to a copper-based .13-micron fab process, enabling speeds in the 1.4GHz range. To help performance scale with clock speed, Intel will also be boosting the PIII's frontside bus speed to 200MHz. The goal? Probably to keep up with AMD's Athlon line, while giving Intel a chance to refine their .13-micron process before moving the Willamette/Pentium IV to the new process. Intel says these moves were part of their road map all along, but that point seems to be in some dispute:

However, Bert McComas, an analyst at InQuest Inc., Gilbert, Ariz., and sponsor of the Platform 2000 conference, said in a keynote session last week that Intel will unveil the 0.13-micron Pentium III chip to extend its speed range in the mainstream market. He said Intel desperately needs a new high-frequency mainstream MPU to compete against AMD's Athlon Thunderbird and upcoming Ultra.

"Intel couldn't afford to wait on developing a mainstream desktop Willamette chip," McComas said. "They've returned to the old tried-and-true Pentium III core as a quick fix."

Whatever the case, AMD has definitely kept Intel on its toes. And it now seems possible the Intel P6 core could make it to 1.6GHz, or 1600MHz—roughly ten times its inital clock speed in the Pentium Pro. Astounding.
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