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Intel unveils seven new Pentium 4 processors. The debut of 90nm Prescott core

Intel officially unveiled the new desktop processor series first in 2004. Today´s announcement is also important because the company introduced 7 new solutions at once and for the first time launched shipments of the new Prescott-based generation manufactured using 90nm process.

So, today Intel´s offer includes 5 new 90nm Prescott-based models...:

  • 3.40E GHz, 3.20E GHz, 3.00E GHz, 2.80E GHz Pentium 4 ("E" postfix) supporting Hyper-Threading, 800MHz FSB and 1MB L2 cache;
  • 2.80A GHz Pentium 4 ("A" postfix) w/o Hyper-Threading, with 533MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache;
3.2E GHz Pentium 4


2.8A GHz Pentium 4

And 2 updated models of older series:

  • 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, 0.13m, 2MB L3 cache, 512KB L2 cache, 8KB L1 data cache, 12K ops L1 cache, Hyper-Threading;
  • 3.40 GHz Pentium 4, 0.13m, Northwood core, 800MHz FSB, 512KB L2 cache, Hyper-Threading.
3.4 GHz Pentium 4 (Northwood)

Despite such variety, the new processors have the common Intel NetBurst architecture and Socket 478. Still, speaking of Prescott-based novelties we should mention the evolved architecture supporting, for example, 13 new SSE3 instructions.




The key differences between Intel´s 90nm and 0.13m processes are summarized in the table below:

Process 0.13m 90nm
Layers of copper interconnects 6 7
Dielectrics Low-k, SIOF Low-k, CDO
Gate material Cobalt silicide Nickel silicide
Memory cell size, mm² 2 1.15
Lithography 248nm 193nm
Silicon grid Usual silicon Strained silicon

As for the key differences between 90nm Prescott processors from already familiar Northwood ones, we must mention the 112mm² crystal size (vs. Northwood´s 131mm²), 125 million transistors (vs. Northwood´s 55million), 1MB L2 cache (vs. Northwood´s 512KB). Of course, such crystal size reduction together with the transition to 300mm silicon wafers should have a significant impact on chip cost price reduction. We don´t have information about the current state of 90nm process preparations for volume production, but by the time it´s ready, the company will be able to easily reduce prices.

Changes in the NetBurst architecture implemented in Prescott include the improved data prefetch and branch prediction technologies, improved power mode, additional WC buffers, improved shift/rotate, improved imul latency, and the support of 13 new SSE3 instructions:


Besides, now there´s new level of thermal conditions for Prescott chips. It´s supported via the TCASEMAX parameter, while the new TCONTROL is designed for Fan Speed Control operations. Besides, the PROCHOT# value is now calibrated and set depending on heat dissipation in every block. Still, the important thing is that no changes were made to cooling system design, so you will be able to install the standard coolers validated for Northwood models, as the higher operating temperature doesn´t demand such considerable cooling as before, besides, it enables better heat dissipation. But, of course, we still have to estimate this mode in actual tests in real systems.

We´ve already mentioned the declarations of motherboard makers regarding the new solutions for Pentium 4 Prescott models alongside new BIOS versions that in the majority of cases adds VRM=2 support and enables to use i865/i875 boards with today novelties. It´s good that this time no massive transition to new boards (like it was with Hyper-Threading solutions) is expected. Of course, this is also correct for chipsets from other manufacturers, including VIA, SiS, ALi, ATI, given there´s new BIOS. Otherwise, the system will recognize new processors as a "2.8E GHz Pentium 4" VRM=1.5 chip.

In over 1,000-unit quantities, 3.40E GHz, 3.20E GHz, 3.00E GHz, 2.80E GHz Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading, 800MHz FSB and 1MB L2 cache should cost $415, $275, $220, and $178, respectively. The price of 2.80A GHz Pentium 4 w/o HyperThreading, with 533MHz FSB and 1MB L2 cache should be $165, while 3.40 GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and 3.40 GHz Pentium 4 (Northwood) should cost about $1000 and $415, respectively.

So, at the moment company´s desktop Pentium 4 series include:

Intel Pentium 4 processors
Core Process, nm Clock, GHz L2 cache
HT
Bus, MHz
Northwood 130 2A 512KB
-
400
2.20
-
400
2.26
-
533
2.40
-
400
2.40B
-
533
2.40C
+
800
2.50
-
400
2.53
-
533
2.60
-
400
2.60C
+
800
2.66
-
533
2.80
-
533
2.80C
+
800
3
+
800
3.06
+
533
3.20
+
800
3.20 (EE) 512KB + 2MB L3
+
800
3.40 512KB
+
800
3.40 (EE) 512KB + 2MB L3
+
800
Prescott 90 2.80A 1MB
-
533
2.80E
+
800
3E
+
800
3.2E
+
800
3.40E
+
800

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