Intel produces its first 90nm chips

Rumors about Intel's Prescott chip may be swirling about, but according to Intel, at least one thing is clear: the chip will be available sometime this year. TR reader MJS alerted us to this story at EET, reporting that the first of Intel's chips made with 90nm (a.k.a. 0.09 micron) process technology have rolled off the line at the company's fab in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new chips built on this technology are Prescott and Dothan, the follow-ups to current "Northwood" P4 and "Banias" Pentium M, respectively. This news contradicts a previous report indicating Dothan would be delayed. Intel says both chips will be available for "revenue shipments" next quarter.

Both Prescott and Dothan will have twice the L2 cache of their predecessors. Intel's 90nm process technology should allow for relatively cooler operation and greater clock speed headroom—beyond 5GHz in the case of Prescott—on a 1066MHz front-side bus. More information about Prescott is available in this developer guide, which details the chip's architectural enhancements, including improved Hyper-Threading, new instructions, and larger caches. What the guide does not say is whether Intel will call this transformed processor a Pentium 4. All we know is that much less evolutionary developments have prompted name changes from Intel in the past.

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