Intel Corp. formally launched its next-generation "Prescott" microprocessor on Sunday, providing slight performance increases over the previous Pentium 4. Intel executives also declined to put to rest rumors of Prescotts 64-bit capabilities.
As previously indicated, Prescott will ship in 3.2GHz, 3.0GHz and 2.8GHz speed grades beginning on Monday, with supplies of the 3.4GHz low enough that many system OEMs will begin shipping systems later in the quarter. Intel also announced a new 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition as well as a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 based on the older Northwood technology. PCs using the new chips will be sold Monday by major PC vendors, such as Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard Co., Sony and others.
Intel will not officially charge a premium for the new chips, although dealers reported that they would charge slight premiums for Intels new processor.
Prescott differs from the current "Northwood" Pentium 4 in that it doubles the size of the chips level-2 cache from 512KB to a full megabyte, adds 13 new instructions, and is Intels first chip to be produced on the companys latest 90-nm manufacturing equipment. The additional cache will provide marginal improvements in application performance. However, the real boost will come in the overhead Intel engineers now have to boost processor speeds over time. Intel executives have said they expect to ship a 4GHz Pentium 4 Prescott by the end of the year.
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