Intel Digs into Dual-Core Architecture Details

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2005-03-02 Print this article Print

Intel unveils some architectural details of the upcoming dual-core CPUs. The new processor looks a lot like two Pentium 4s in a single package—but with some important differences.

SAN FRANCISCO—Intel is shifting most of its focus in the processor market to dual-core CPUs, suggesting that by the end of 2006, better than 75 percent of the CPUs that the company ships will be multicore processors. We sat in on a dual-core architecture session Wednesday at the Intel Developer Forum here presented by Benson Inkley, senior processor applications engineer at Intel Corp. Inkley covered the fundamental concepts of how Intel will be building dual-core CPUs. Dual-core CPUs from Intel will ship in two primary classes. The first class will ship with two execution cores on a single semiconductor die.
The first iteration of this is the Pentium D, formerly code-named "Smithfield," which will be built on the companys 90nm process, similar to that being used for the current Pentium 4 600 CPUs.
Click here to read about Intel bringing dual-core technology to the digital home. Further down the road will be a product code-named "MP Paxville"—two cores sharing one bus interface. Paxville shares a single bus and represents an update to the architecture. Paxville is a server CPU and will need the Intel 8500 chip set. The 8500 supports as many as Paxville processors (eight cores total). Two processors share one of the two processor buses built into the chip set. Pentium D replicates the P4 pipeline almost completely, in a single, 230M transistor die. Note that the Pentium D will require a new motherboard, built around the upcoming 945/955 core logic. If you insert a Pentium D into a current 915 or 925XE motherboard, the system simply wont boot. Neither the CPU or motherboard will be damaged; it simply wont work. Note that the current LGA775 CPUs will work in 945/955 chip set boards. Read the full story on ExtremeTech: Intel Digs into Dual-Core Architecture
Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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