The Inquirer has quite the scoop today: word that Intel has nixed plans to ramp the Pentium 4 up to 4GHz. Intel had originally promised 4GHz by years' end and speeds as high as 10GHz from the Netburst architecture, but the company has already shifted away from aiming for higher clock speeds in favor of dual-core processor designs. Intel had already admitted the P4 wouldn’t reach 4GHz this year.
Now, mad Mike Magee reports that Intel will pump up the size of the on-chip L2 cache rather than go for more megahertz, as rumors about the expected 600-series of Pentium 4 processors had predicted: "Other sources tell the INQUIRER that its 6XX family, which we reported earlier this year, will have 2MB of level two cache, faster bus speeds and be based on the existing Pentium architecture." I had previously expressed puzzlement over the 800MHz front-side bus rumored for the 600 series, but this report would seem to indicate that Intel does indeed expect to raise the front-side bus for the 600s. We’ll have to see how that all works out.
The most jarring bit of news in the report, however, is this one-liner: "We now also confidently expect that Intel will use the Pentium M in several desktop configurations." No more information is given, but many of us Intel watchers have been wondering whether the Pentium M might be moved to the desktop to do battle with the Athlon 64. This spunky little CPU might give Intel a stronger desktop CPU offering than the Pentium 4.
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