Intel Abandons 4GHz Pentium Plans

Intel said that despite its best efforts, it will not go forward with plans to mass produce a Pentium 4 processor running at speeds of 4GHz.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company had previously given itself a goal of 2005 to fabricate the technology. Currently, Intel has some of the fastest x86-based processors on the market with the highest frequencies rating at 3.4GHz.

A representative for Intel told it will
instead focus on dual-core processors including an enhanced version of its 90-nanometer Pentium Extreme Edition chip due out next year that supports 2MB of L2 cache. Intel has already enhanced its mobile and 130-nm desktop processors with the advanced cache and will now focus on bolstering its 90nm products.

“Symbolically, this is a disappointment,” Intel spokesperson George Alfs said. “We can manufacture a 4GHz Pentium, but we need more resources to do it successfully in high volume.”

Like Intel, other semiconductor manufacturers are having similar
problems producing faster single-core processors because the physical
demands on the silicon cause excessive heat and eat up more power than most companies want to accept. The crisis forced Intel and AMD to adopt a future roadmap based on dual-core processors.

Alfs said Intel is also augmenting its core CPUs with a family of Intel technologies it refers to as its “T family.” The technologies, which include Intel’s Hyper-Threading (HT) technology and 64-bit extensions (EM64T), will also be joined in 2006 with Intel’s LaGrande Technology (Security, LT) and Vanderpool and Silvervale Technology (Virtualization, VT/ST) to coordinate with Microsoft’s next-generation Windows OS named Longhorn.

The P4 news comes at a time when Intel is also focusing on supplying chips to power the family entertainment room. At an industry event in New York today, the company highlighted several Entertainment PCs based on its Pentium 4 “Prescott” processor with the Intel 915 Express chipset family (aka Grantsdale). Intel said it is marketing the systems to OEMs that are building the next wave of server-style units that act as an all-in-one digital film vault, music collection, photo gallery and game room.

Already this week, HP unveiled two Digital entertainment centers (HP z540 and HP z545-b) with the Prescott/Grantsdale combination. Intel said other OEMs like ABS, CyberPower are gearing up to offer similar platforms.

The computers are thin enough to slip into an entertainment rack and based on the Prescott/Grantsdale combination, which includes Intel’s Hyper-Threading, DDR2 memory, PCI Express, Intel integrated access, point technology, Intel RAID technology, Intel High Definition Audio (a technology developed with Dolby Sound Labs and previously known as Azalea), and Serial ATA and Advanced Host Controller Interface Specification (AHCI).

The chipsets also support Intel’s Wireless Connect Technology,
Graphics Media Accelerator, Matrix Storage Technology, and Flex Memory Technology.

Intel has been devoting much time and money to beef up its presence in the consumer device space. The company has even gone as far as to realign its Intel Architecture business to include a Desktop Platforms Group, the Mobile Platforms Group and its
Enterprise Platforms Group.

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