Intel's plans to drive its 90nm 'Prescott' processor - the successor to the Pentium 4 - quickly down-market into the PC mainstream as well as establish it at the top-end of its desktop CPU line-up.
To that end, it will follow the chip's launch at 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz during Q4 with 2.8GHz and 3GHz version the quarter after that.
So says a report on Japan's PC Watch web site. Intel will also release a 3.6GHz Prescott during Q1 2004. The story's based on an August roadmap, which shows a 3.8GHz version earmarked for Q2 2004. The site extrapolates a 4GHz part in Q3, rising to 4.4GHz in Q4.
That 4.4GHz part will be based on the 'Tejas' core, the report implies. Tejas will introduce yet another pin spec., the 775-pin Land Grid Array, the better to support the 800MHz effective bit rate frontside bus. Tejas will be supported by its own chipset, 'Grantsdale'.
Grantsdale will be based on PCI Express, using the next-generation bus spec. to link the chipset's North Bridge to the graphics card across a 4GBps link. The South Bridge uses lesser PCI Express links to provide two non-graphics add-in slots, plus 802.11 and Gigabit Ethernet support. The chip will support a single parallel ATA bus (to allow up to two drives to be connected) but four Serial ATA channels, allowing RAID 0+1 support out of the box (not to mention regular RAID 0 and 1, of course).
The chipset will handle 333MHz and 400MHz DDR SDRAM and, interestingly, 400MHz and 533MHz DDR II memory - up to 4GB of either, in dual-channel configuration.
PC Watch suggests Grantsdale will ship well ahead of Tejas, presumably to support a 775-pin version of Prescott aimed at PCI Express systems.
Lower clocked Prescotts may solve the alleged compatibility problem highlighted last month between Intel's i865 and i875 chipsets. Some motherboard manufacturers have claimed that both parts are not compatible with the 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz Prescott because they can't support the new CPU's higher I/O voltage requirements. Such a problem may not be the case with lower-clocked Prescotts, which would in turn allow Intel to stand by its promises of Prescott support in its latest P4 chipsets.
The roadmap shows Prescott-based Celerons coming to market in Q2 2004, also at 2.8GHz and 3.06GHz and effectively replacing the 2.8GHz P4-based Celeron due during the first quarter of next year. After Q1 there will no new P4-based Celerons, the roadmap suggests. Equally, the 3.2GHz P4 launched this past June will be last P4 release. ®