Pentium 4 blues


— 12:13 AM on November 17, 2000

With all the controversy swirling around this processor, are we all less than enthused with the impending release of the Pentium 4 on Monday? From C|Net news:

The Nasdaq composite index fell 133.61, or 4 percent, to 3,031.88, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 17.72 to 1,372.32. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 51.57 to 10,656.03.

"The whole feeling in the market was that there was no catalyst to get things going," said Michael Palazzi, head of Nasdaq trading at CIBC World Markets.

I guess Pentium 4 is not enough of a catalyst. It's not fair to say that the Pentium 4 is causing a depression but when it comes to offering dual processor systems, Intel is indeed behind the curve. This really isn't anything new but Willamette won't do SMP (or so they say) so Intel's decision to market a uniprocessor as a workstation solution is going to be an uphill battle. From ZDNet:
But while Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) contends the chip is well-suited to handling 3-D applications regularly utilized by workstation users, computer makers will only be able to offer single-processor systems until possibly the second half of next year, when Intel will introduce a dual-chip platform.

Intel's promotion of a single-CPU workstation stands in stark contrast to the chip maker's previous promotions of dual-processor systems as the ideal workstation solution.

What this does is open the door for AMD to hoist Intel by its own petard.
"I think it's interesting that Intel spent years trying to position dual-processor solutions as the way to go for workstations, and that's kind of kept other people out of the game, like [Advanced Micro Devices Inc. ]," said Pia Rieppo, a workstations analyst with the Gartner Group Inc. "Now the OEMs have to follow suit with where to position the single-unit Pentium 4 in their product line."

"The way Intel used to differentiate desktops from workstations was that workstations were supposed to be dual-processor capable," Brookwood said. "If Intel's now going to say that single-chip solutions are OK for workstations, then that really opens the door for AMD."

Saving the best for last.
"The Pentium 4 processors that we're announcing Monday have the highest-performing floating point of any PC processor that's out there," Otellini said. "And, in fact, [they] compare very favorably to a lot of RISC microprocessors, which for so long have been resident in things like workstations. That's one of the reasons you'll see on Monday that there are workstations also being introduced with Pentium 4."
What you talkin' 'bout, Willis? "Highest-performing floating point?!" Well, P.T. Barnum said that there is a sucker born every minute. I hope I'm wrong but this sounds like it is all about marketing.
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