Intel Readies Second Line Of Dual-Core Desktop CPUs


The new processors, which are code-named Presler, fit into the roadmap above Intel's first family of desktop dual-core processors, the Pentium D line, which was formally introduced at the end of May. The new Presler parts are designated the models 920, 930, 940 and 950.

"We're on track for delivery of Presler in the first half of 2006, most likely the earlier part of the first half," confirmed Intel spokesman Dan Snyder, in an interview. "It will be the next-generation dual-core processor using multichip packaging technology."

The roadmap itself, obtained independently by TechWeb, pegs the Presler processors as scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2006.

The Presler parts are notable in that they'll be among the first processors made using Intel's advanced 65 nm semiconductor fabrication process. That compares to 90 nm used for the current Pentium D devices, which are also known as the 8XX family. The finer process will enable Intel to pack two processors onto a smaller slice of silicon, yielded improved manufacturing efficiency. However, the process doesn't obviate the cooling concerns, caused by power dissipation issues, which are common to all high-end processors.

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In technical terms, Presler will be based on the same "Netburst" architecture used in the current, dual-core Pentium D processors. However, the Preslers will add Intel's new Virtualization technology as well as Hyper-Threading. Of the current Pentium D parts, only the Extreme Edition device supports Hyper-Threading; none support virtualization. Both the Pentium D and Presler parts will support Intel's EM64T 64-bit instruction set, which is being folded into many of the company's offerings.

Further ahead, Intel will move its dual-core designs to a revamped, next-generation architecture in the follow-on to Presler, which is code-named Conroe. That line isn't expected to hit the streets before the end of next year. Intel will simultaneously bring the new architecture to notebooks via its Merom line.

"The only thing we've said publicly about Conroe and Merom is that they're next-generation desktop and mobile dual-core processors, based on next-generation architectures," added Snyder.

On the single-core front, Intel's new roadmap indicates that the company plans to add a new processor to the top of its Celeron D family at an unspecified date. The part, which doesn't have a model designation, is shown as coming in on top of the Celeron D model 355. The existing Celeron D models 310 through 355 are fabricated in 90 nm and have an L2 cache of 256 KB. In contrast, the new Celeron D will be fabricated in 65 nm and will have a double-sized L2 cache of 512 KB.