Whats Next

 
 
By Richard Fisco  |  Posted 2003-02-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


: Mobile CPUs"> Whats Next: Mobile CPUs

Intel is about to debut its next-generation processor, Banias. This chip aims for power efficiency and is not based on the P4s NetBurst architecture (Intels marketing term for the combination of hyperpipelined technology, advanced transfer cache, SSE2, and other fundamental P4 architecture elements). Banias wont achieve the higher clock speeds of the P4, because it lacks a 20-stage pipeline. Intel says, however, that Banias will outperform the P4. The result: a CPU with a lower clock speed but higher performance than a P4. Sound familiar? Intel has stated that it will not use a part-numbering scheme like AMDs and will market Banias in terms of its performance without hiding its clock speed.

Up next for AMD is a plan to move its Barton core into a mobile package at the same time the desktop Barton CPU is released. The mobile Barton will probably be identical to the desktop chip, but with the addition of PowerNow! technology for increased battery life.

Interestingly, AMD is planning to make a version of its Athlon 64 (Clawhammer) for the mobile market a few months after releasing the desktop Athlon 64. This will be the first-ever 64-bit CPU in a notebook. The Athlon 64 32-bit compatibility and 64-bit extensions make it an excellent choice for the growing market of pricier mobile workstations, which is currently dominated by Intel processors.

As for Transmeta, financial difficulties led to the cancellation of its next-generation Crusoe TM6000 processor, whose release was originally scheduled for the first half of 2002. Now Transmeta has a new architecture, the Crusoe TM8000, scheduled for the second quarter of 2003. Architectural changes will let the TM8000 operate at a higher frequency than the current Crusoe TM5800. The chip will also include a newer version of Transmetas Code Morphing software, as well as a 256-bit VLIW engine (twice the width of the TM5800s 128-bit engine). This will double the instructions per clock cycle from four to eight, which should mean a significant performance boost.



 
 
 
 
Richard Fisco Richard Fisco is PC Magazine Labs' technical director responsible for PCs and hardware.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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