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Intel dual-core desktop chip 'to ship mid-2005'

Smithfield = Prescott + Prescott?

Intel will release its first dual-core desktop Pentium 4 processor in a year's time, the chip giant's latest roadmaps reportedly reveal.

The part, codenamed 'Smithfield', will be pitched at high-end and mainstream PCs, themselves aimed at creative, corporate, lifestyle and business buyer categories, according to a presentation slide posted at AnandTech.

The slide, done up in the usual Intel colours, reveals the chip maker will "likely" offer three versions of the part, one at the high end and two mid-range products.

All three Smithfields will use Socket T connectors, but there's no indication as to how high their frontside bus will be clocked - 1066MHz seems likely - or the CPUs themselves, for that matter. Intel has yet to decide their processor numbers.

It is known, however, that the chips will be fabbed at 90nm.

In broadly the same timeframe, AMD is scheduled to ship 'Toledo', its first dual-core desktop CPU, which will ship under the Athlon 64 FX brand. It too will be fabbed at 90nm.

And we might even have a dual-core IBM PowerPC 970FX - aka the G5 - out at the same time. With the 90nm G5 churning out more heat than anticipated, Apple may well be awaiting the arrival of Motorola/Freescale's dual-core PowerPC G4 in order to bring the same sort of processor to its mobile range.

But back to Intel, and don't forget that the chip giant is believed to be preparing a desktop CPU based on its Pentium M architecture. The chips is codenamed 'Conroe'. That has led to some speculation that Smithfield may not be a 'true' P4, but do you recall the Intel rep who in June this year mentioned the possible arrival of dual-core Prescotts by the end of 2005?

It's not going to be easy for Intel to get a dual-core 90nm Prescott out the door given the chip's current heat-dissipation levels, so if Smithfield is Prescott-based, Intel is going to have to come out with some canny cooling options. Socket T will help. ®

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