New CPUs are on the way

— 10:09 AM on September 20, 2004

The Inq's NDA-busting ways are on display this morning with news of upcoming new processors pouring forth seemingly without effort. First, AMD will intro the "Athlon64 4000+ and FX-55 on October 11th," they report, and they say both processors look to be 130nm parts.

Also, Intel's next processors are apparently on deck, with a Pentium 4 Prescott 4GHz expected to ship in the first quarter of '05, just as soon as the 80-lb. heatsinks can be fabricated. The complete roadmap calls for a Pentium 4 model 570 at 3.8GHz and the model 580 at 4GHz, both with an 800MHz front-side bus. The rumored 600-series models with 2MB of L2 cache remain strongly rumored, also with an 800MHz bus.

One riddle that appears to be solved is the perplexing question of what will happen with the 1066MHz bus. The Inq suggests the only chip to use a 1066MHz bus will be the Pentium 4 720 (a.k.a. Extreme Edition) running at 3.73GHz. If true, this will be the first time I can recall that Intel introduced a bus speed solely for marketing purposes—err, I mean, for an image product. In the past, Intel has nearly always migrated higher bus speeds down across its model line in relatively short order. If the 1066MHz bus will indeed be limited to only the high-priced, low-volume P4 720, the company must be having problems reaching 1066MHz reliably. Otherwise, one would expect this faster bus to move quickly across a product line that already includes widespread use of a dual-channel DDR2 533MHz memory architecture—a design not well matched to an 800MHz front-side bus.

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