Intel Digs into Dual-Core Architecture Details

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.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick 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.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead the full story on ExtremeTech: Intel Digs into Dual-Core Architecture