Johan De Gelas at Ace’ Hardware has put together a preview of the x86-compatible processor scene in the coming year, and, as ever, he’s done a fine job of it. The preview covers a number of interesting issues, including the scalability of the P6 core vs. the Athlon core when both are built with a .18µ feature size, the potential pitfalls of an integrated L2 cache, and a few bold predictions. Take this one, for instance:
The Coppermine (image above), which does not contain any copper, will not be able to turn the tide, as we strongly doubt it has much frequency headroom left above 850 Mhz, even with a tweaked .18 µ process. Using a smaller process buys you frequency headroom, but once the limits of the architecture are reached, using smaller processes will result in diminishing returns. Intel first 1 GHz CPU will be the Willamette, not the PIII.
Johan knows his stuff, so take a look at the article to see why he says what he does. Recommended reading.