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Friday, August 05, 2005
  blackhole- No ordinary Intel chip
When struck with another processor launch, the average person would say, “Another day, another, another processor; more clock speed, more cache, or a little of both. So what else is new?

But wait, Intel did not simply launch any processor – its latest processor features not just one, but two cores in one chip.

Plus, Intel processors can now address more than four gigabytes of onboard memory, courtesy of their 64-bit extensions, also known as Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T).

However, rather than sell more boxes, Intel’s future plan is to sell a do-it-all system through one single box. This had been depicted in its launch skit on an “everyday family” multi–tasking away at single Pentium D-based box, from a father-son team simultaneously playing the latest version of Need for Speed on the wide-screen TV in the living room, to a mother-daughter pair viewing holiday pictures in Bali on a separate picture tube.

Of course if Intel had it its way, it would rather sell more boxes. But upgrading computers every other year is already passé.

Dubbed Pentium D (for dual-core), the processor debuts at a seemingly demure 2.8 gigahertz to 3.2 GHz (that is 2.8GHz or 3.2GHz for each core) with two megabytes of 1.3 cache (that is 1MB x 2 for each processor core), running on an 800 megahertz (MHz) frontside bus.

Basically, the Pentium D, dubbed SmithField core, comprises two Presscott dies combined, with heat dissipation rated at 95 watts. Unlike the Pentium 4s, the Pentium D does not support virtual multi-core architecture, also known as Intel Hyper-Threading technology. This means that users will not see four virtual cores running in the windows Task Manager, but instead two physical processor cores.

Also the Pentium D’s “D” designation is not to be confused with the Celeron D. the “D” in the case of Intel’s value-line processor stands for “desktop”.

Nonetheless, the, Celeron D has impressive specification such as clock speeds from 2.53GHz all the way to 3.20GHz, coupled with EM64T. Its L2 cache has now been increased to 256 kilobytes, and a 533MHz frontside bus gives us plenty headroom for overclocking.

As for the Pentium 4, these processors will still be around 3.8GHz clock speed, albeit they come with a choice of either 2MB or 1MB l2 cache configuration on and 800MHz.

They can, of course, reach 4GHz with some light overclocking. Interestingly enough, the upcoming Intel-Apple processors are not x86- or x86-64 style processors. Hence, they are not compatible with existing x86/x86-64-operating systems. So, forget about running Mac OS X on your PC.

Apple could license Intel’s reduced instruction set computing (RISC)-style processors such as the Itanium 2 processor. But seeing how current RISC processors are so hot and not as energy-efficient as their desktop or notebook counterparts, it would seem highly unlikely, especially since Apple would also need to utilize these Intel processors in its PowerBooks.

As it is, the PowerBook suffers form too little clock speed and too much heat, things Apple hopes to address with the changer from IBM to Intel processors.

-extraordinary-
 


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