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Intel "East Fork" Technology Migration

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the moving-towards-the-M-class dept.

Intel 165

Hack Jandy writes "When Intel's Centrino platform first unveiled, industry experts were surprised to see such great performance of the Pentium M, based off Intel's P6 (Pentium III) architecture. According to sources in the industry, Intel has officially adopted the approach to migrating Pentium M to the desktop (hence, "East Fork") to offset some of its Pentium 4 processor sales. Cheaper, slower, cooler, but higher performing processors are on the way to an Intel desktop near you!"

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about time (-1, Troll)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819168)

It's about time

Troll (-1, Offtopic)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819191)

Really? You modded my "about time" comment s troll?
Oh the agony!

Re:Troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819318)

Yeah. Redundant, Flamebait, or Overrated would have been much more appropriate. The best part is they can mod you down twice now for such a useless post.

Offtopic (-1, Offtopic)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819756)

Come come now...can I please get a redundant? I am shooting for the stars to today baby! Whoo hoo...the little slashdot kiddies are hurting my feelings...oh boo whoo.

Troll? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819349)

Type Intel(Rating CPU_Rating, Type CPU_Type):

CPU_Rating == GOOD //What!!! our CPUs are ALWAYS good

IF (CPU_Rating == GOOD && CPU_Type = P4)
{
CPU_Type = P4HT
WAIT ages
}

IF (CPU_Rating == GOOD && CPU_Type = P4HT)
{
CPU_Type = P4EE
WAIT ages
}

IF (CPU_Rating == AMD_ARE_KICKING_OUR_ASSES && CPU_Type = P4EE)
{
CPU_Type = PentiumM
WAIT ages // Wait ages to BUILD it
}

RETURN CPU_Type

Well it seems like... (1)

LucasALC (701722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819171)

...the GHZ era is over...

So Intel is basically saying... (4, Funny)

XNormal (8617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819180)

"So perhaps this Pentium 4 architecture with its ridiculously deep pipeline wasn't such a great idea after all?"

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819213)

No, I think they're saying that "The average consumer has just figured out that they don't need a 3GHz processor that dissapates 1.21 gigawatts of heat!" :-)

On another note, does anyone know what the heck this is [amazon.com] ? It says Celeron, but it also says FPGA. Does anyone know which is it? I found it the other day when looking for FPGA books, and it's been puzzling me ever since.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

farnz (625056) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819240)

It should be FC-PGA, not FPGA; FC-PGA is short for "Flip-Chip Pin Grid Array".

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819250)

Thank you! Doing a Google Search only confused me more, since a lot of people apparently refer to it as "FPGA". Glad to have that mystery solved. :-)

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819424)

I thought heat output was measured in BTUs, not gigawatts. ;)

Still, cooler is a good thing. Hell, even my modest 1.9GhZ Athlon (XP 2600+) raises the ambient temperature in my room by 10 degrees F.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819471)

Not for dissipation on CPUs. Intel measures it in Watts for some reason. (Probably because that's how much energy is being wasted.)

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (3, Informative)

henrygb (668225) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819496)

No - BTU may measure heat or energy, but heat output needs to divide this by time to give a rate, also known as power. So 1 GW is about 947817 BTU/s.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820132)

Ah, +1 informative to you for that. ;) Thanks!

Guess I should stop playing with perl and crack "The Art of Electronics" that I choked up 80 clams for. :)

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (2, Funny)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819531)

Actually, the complete quote is: The average consumer has just figured out that they don't need a 3GHz processor that dissapates 1.21 gigawatts of heat! Run for your lives!"

;)

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819908)

On another note, does anyone know what the heck this is? It says Celeron, but it also says FPGA. Does anyone know which is it? I found it the other day when looking for FPGA books, and it's been puzzling me ever since.

Uh, it's a FPGA celeron. 1.3GHz, 256kB L2 cache. If you have any more difficult questions I'll be happy to help :)

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (5, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819292)

I don't think that you are seeing the whole story. Basically, Intel has been holding out for IBM's silicon-on-insulator [ibm.com] technology because it reduces power requirements a good deal. Unfortunately for Intel, IBM is pretty sneaky when it comes to licensing and often prefer to swap technology rather than accept cash. I'd imagine that IBM is holding out for an x86 cross-license agreement while Intel does not want to give that up.

What you've seen in the past couple years is a game of chess. With each move, the other hopes that they have positioned themselves to better reach a licensing deal. Intel's move to non-clock processor ratings was a big move in this game.

From what I've seen at Intel's developer forums, they're working on some radically different architecture. Something that isn't von Neumann at all. They're calling it "massively parallel" but the industry seems to think that this means multiple cores on one chip. I think that it means thousands or millions of "processing elements" on one chip (think really small processing elements). Their claim is that they'll be able to apply this architecture to everything from mobile to high-end servers simply by adding or subtracting elements as power constraints allow.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (4, Insightful)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819362)

They better tell programmers and compiler-writers about this soon. Any chip like this is would be very hard to program for - I suspect that any attempted move to this architecture would end up like the Itanic.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (2, Interesting)

myurr (468709) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819550)

Precisely. I would be suprised if they could make such a chip and keep it both X86 compatible, and fast for todays applications. If it's only slightly parallel then it's no more than a dual core chip with hyperthreading. If it's massively parallel like the grand parent post suggested, then each individual thread is unlikely to run as fast as a P4 or Athlon64 chip today, and that will hurt applications that don't benefit from being mulithreaded (ie. most of todays unoptimised apps).

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

eofpi (743493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819834)

If it's really as far away from current architectures as the GP makes it sound like, it might require changes to more than just the compilers to make some languages work on it.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10820252)

Are we going back to multiple vector execution units like the PS2 and old mainframes, only massively scaled down? Exciting!

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

tvar (96712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820267)

They could just be plain old x86 cores, and they could use speculative multithreading. I would expect that Intel would find this to be an attractive option, as no one would be forced to re-compile (or re-write) their code.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

A Drake Man (809441) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819420)

Sounds like IBM is working on essentially the same thing [arstechnica.com]

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819707)

From what I've seen at Intel's developer forums, they're working on some radically different architecture. Something that isn't von Neumann at all. They're calling it "massively parallel" but the industry seems to think that this means multiple cores on one chip. I think that it means thousands or millions of "processing elements" on one chip (think really small processing elements). Their claim is that they'll be able to apply this architecture to everything from mobile to high-end servers simply by adding or subtracting elements as power constraints allow.


Sounds kind of like TMC's CM-2...

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

buysse (5473) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819941)

You mean they're cloning Sun's Niagara? [aceshardware.com]

Intel's really falling behind the curve if that's the case. If I were a stockholder, I'd be pretty annoyed after AMD64^H^H^H^H^H EM64T, and the Itanic debacle. Now they're cloning a Sun processor design? Heh.

</flamebait>

Transputer all over again (3, Informative)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820003)

I can understand why they're keen to experiment with different architectures, but I think such ideas are often panic measures.

Intel knowing that it's 64-bit offering is a lame duck and seeing AMD's opteron cleaning up in many areas is panicing and hoping to produce something radically better.

It was the worry that 32-bit CPUs were going to deliver that gave birth to the whole transputer concept (in the UK of all places).

Have a good read about the concept, it's not too disimilar to what is being proposed today (except the cores are more advanced).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transputer [wikipedia.org]

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (2, Interesting)

Oestergaard (3005) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820057)

Dude, computers have not been even *close* to Von Neumann for several decades.

Von Neumann assumes uniform memory access times - this is largely untrue for any ordinary scalar processor with a cache - ten years ago processors had internal memory write buffers, l1 cache, possibly l2 cache and main memory - today it's even more complicated. But common for all of this is that even a simple hierarchical memory system with a single level cache and the main memory makes your computer very far from Von Neumann.

So, if Intel wants to present something that "isn't von Neumann at all", all they need to do is pull an i386 out of a hat and wave it at the drooling masses.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820133)

I think it means an ALU on the RAM die. No bus/controller latency to memory would ROCK,
and Intel could eliminate the commodity DRAM market, glomming all that revenue until them-greedy-little-selves.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (2, Interesting)

getch(); (164701) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820345)

SOI only helps reduce one particular source of static power consumption. While static power is a big issue at 90nm, SOI doesn't magically solve it. Further, the big problem with Prescott is power dissipation and heat under load--dynamic power consumption. I'm not sure where you heard this rumor, but even if true it's ancillary to the current discussion.

Re:So Intel is basically saying... (4, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819366)

"So perhaps this Pentium 4 architecture with its ridiculously deep pipeline wasn't such a great idea after all?"

It is not that deep pipeline is bad in itself; the point is, the decision to build the pIV that way was slaved to the use of MHZ as a marketing tool. That, in itself, drove the chip design in a way that essentially banned it from the laptop market, which in turn drove the design of the pentium-m , a.k.a. Centrino.

Now Intel itself is at a fork in the road, because Prescott is also geared towards higher frequencies, which means it will probably be hotter still. [tech-report.com]
Now, I do not know how much money Intel sunk in the prescott design, but if it is serious in building this new Centrino derivative processor, all this money will be washed away; and if Intel tries to keep this processor one step behind Prescott in performance, it risks a royal Chewing up by AMD.

The pentium that should been (0)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819181)

Will finally be?

A 1GHz PIII will kick a 2GHz P4's ass in "feel." Sure would be nice to see some multi-mobile core technology for the desktop. Imagine a beowulf cl...

Re:The pentium that should been (4, Funny)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819252)

slower, cooler, but higher performing processors

.

Slower, higher performance. Only from Intel.

Re:The pentium that should been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10820572)

Nope. AMD also makes chips that are slower then the Intel chips but perform better.

Architecture (0)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819183)

Imagine Intel's speed with AMD's architectural benefits. Could this be it?

Re:Architecture (4, Funny)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819390)

Imagine AMD's speed with AMD's architectural benefits. Wait....

Re:Architecture (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819914)

If they ever team up to be some processor monopoly the prices will fly thru the roof.

Make sense noise-wise (2, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819187)

The cooler they can keep a well-performing CPU, the less noise they need coming out of the box. Let's count this one as a victory for using PCs for PVR/Jukebox-style uses.

Re:Make sense noise-wise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819209)

The cooler they can keep a well-performing CPU, the less noise they need coming out of the box.

But some of us have grown used to the sounds of jet travel 24/7

Re:Make sense noise-wise (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819219)

White noise is great for sleeping, but I find it horrible for waking up.

Anyone else find this to be the case?

Re:Make sense noise-wise (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819278)

Well, except for the fact that decoding video and such is one of the few things that the P4 is particularly good at, since the long pipeline doesn't hurt.

Re:Make sense noise-wise (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819342)

Decoding MPEG-2 video is something that can be done on any Radeon, and it cuts the CPU load of a high quality encode to a fourth of CPU-only.

I imagine if properly standardized, VC-1 and that H.xxx version of MPEG-4 being put into the next DVD format will be put in too. nVidia needs to get on board with this too.

Re:Make sense noise-wise (1)

neko9 (743554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819520)

Decoding MPEG-2 video is something that can be done on any Radeon and GeForce FX.

Cheaper, slower, cooler, but higher performing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819190)

Obscene (5, Funny)

BabyJaysus (808429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819194)

Intel employee: "Shall I try migrating Pentium M to the desktop?"

Intel boss: "Fork off!"

</shame>

Great for servers (3, Interesting)

Folmer (827037) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819196)

Gonna be great to use this platform for servers..

Low power usage...
Great performance..
Low heat emission (easy to make passive cooled..)

GamePC made a test not long ago, and it performed on par with p4EE and amds FX5x...
http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.a sp?id=dot handesktop&page=1

Re:Great for servers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819508)

Most servers need very little processing power. a P-II can do it easily for 1000 users.

processing intensive things like a DB would be happier with multiple low power cores. we have a 2.2Ghz Xeon server here and the 4 processor P-III 500 server next to it regularly kicks the faster and newer machines arse HARD every single time. and that performance gap increases as the load increases.. having 20 users on each server really shows it off. the Older P-III kicks the Xeon's head so hard it is not even funny.

and the 2.2ghz Xeon server has 4X the ram.

I have been trading new servers to other departments for their older MP servers... they happily trade me, and I get the better end of the deal.

and this is running the crappy MSSQL. I'm betting Oracle will show even more pperformance under the older MP designes.

Re:Great for servers (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819548)

Take a look at the initial numbers reported for AMD dual-core chips. Those are truly astounding.

Why do this? (0)

zerguy (831069) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819202)

Is anyone else wondering what the point is? I mean they already have low-cost processors. Why use something dumbed-down for the mobile environment when you aren't in the mobile environment?

Re:Why do this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819225)

The Pentium-M was a seperate processor design (from the Israeli Intel team).

It was more power efficient, and higher performing than the existing P4 line.

The processor was originally designed for Mobile applications but they've upped the clock speeds and retooled it a bit to bring them to the desktop.

They're faster and better engineered so everyone is a winner :p

Re:Why do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819242)

"Why use something dumbed-down?"

Because it's neither dumbed down nor budget, you really should document yourself before making such statements. It's the best x86 architecture Intel can oppose to AMD.

Re:Why do this? (2, Informative)

Atragon (711454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819284)

Because the Pentium-M does more per clock cycle than a destktop Pentium 4 this means that a 2.0 GHz Pentium-M is effectively as fast as a desktop Pentium 4 running at 3,2 GHz, and at the same time, it runs cooler and uses less power than the desktop processor.

Re:Why do this? (5, Informative)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819288)

In what way is the Pentium M "dumbed down?" Quite frankly, I'm firmly of the opinion that it's the best processor that Intel has produced to date, and I'm not alone in that view point.

The Pentium M is based on the old P6 core, with things like SSE added it to bring it up to current standards, and power saving circuitry of its own added in to suit the mobile role. The one major complaint about the chip is the fact that it's somewhat bottlenecked by a 400MHz FSB, but there's speculation that that's partly related to it currently being a mobile part. Even so, a relatively low clocked Pentium M compares very favorably [gamepc.com] to a much higher clocked P4.

Basically, the Pentium M is a move back to a P3 type design philosophy, away from the 30-stage pipeline madness Intel's gotten themselves into with Prescott. I fail to see how going with a more intelligent design is going with a dumbed down processor.

Re:Why do this? (1)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819352)

indeed, when williamette came out, i (among most people) think it's the biggest joke ever (I think those initial 1.4ghz parts are slower than PIII @ 1Ghz)

And from an overclocker's prespective, "desktoplization" of Pentium M means that you can way more headrooms to play with. As it stands, I think Pentium M @ 2.8ghz outperforms everything out there right now (including FX-55).

Re:Why do this? (3, Interesting)

myurr (468709) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819502)

The probelm for Intel is this: By the time they get this chip to market, or certainly not long after, Microsoft will actually ship Windows XP 64.

While the Pentium M may be able to close the gap to the Athlon 64 when running in 32 bit mode, possibly even beat the AMD chip if Intel are successful in increasing the M's clock speed, the Athlon is just waiting to really stretch it's legs. In some situations moving to 64 bits will not improve performance, and could possibly even hamper it, but for the majority of desktop applications and games with optimised code the 64 bit version with the extra registers will trounce the 32 bit chips.

Re:Why do this? (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819513)

> Quite frankly, I'm firmly of the opinion that it's the best processor that Intel has produced to date, and I'm not alone in that view point.

"best" is a bit strong: it depends of the usage.

For SpecInt/Power ratio, I agree but for raw FP calculations, I think that the PentiumM is inferior to the P4 (the Itanium2 is even better but not in the same price range).

Pentium M fast due to large CPU cache? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819616)

If I remember correctly, the Pentium M CPU's are fast thanks to the very large on-die CPU cache (L1 and L2) found on the CPU itself.

I think what we might see pretty soon are a new generation of desktop Pentium CPU's that will combine the hardware design of the Pentium M with some of the features of the Prescott-core CPU's; these new CPU's won't need the oversized cooling fans that the Prescott-core CPU's need now.

Re:Pentium M fast due to large CPU cache? (2, Interesting)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819904)

The Banias cores had 1MB L2 cache and the new Dothans have 2MB L2 cache, yes, but that's not the sole reason for them performing as they do. The current Prescotts have 1MB L2 and Intel's slated to introduce 6xx P4s in January with 2MB L2, but I can promise you that the additional cache won't suddenly cause Prescott to perform simliarly to Dothan clock for clock.

It's a design philosophy based around high IPC, not the large cache, that makes the Pentium M such a strong performer.

Re:Why do this? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819489)

I'm with the other person in saying it isn't "dumbed down". Mobile chips are sometimes fabricated differently, and also designed differently so they have a greater power scale-down capabilities that it can shut off unnecessary bits of the chip.

A 2.0GHz Pentium M Dothan can reasonably hold its own against an AMD 3000+ or a P4 3.0GHz.

THAT'S what we need (-1, Offtopic)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819220)

more forking from Intel!

Really? But we already knew that... (2, Informative)

motika (468325) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819263)

Not really surprising, as the PIII has been faster [theinquirer.net] than the PIV for awhile. Curiously at the same time, people were also noticing that NT4 was faster [hal-pc.org] than 2000 at server tasks, yet most who reported such at the time were gagged by the no-publishing-benchmarks EULA fine print...

Not quite. (4, Informative)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819632)

The Inquirer article concerned the 1st Gen P4 Xeons with 1MB L3 vs P3 Xeons with 2MB L2. The article is 2 years old.

At last, (1)

Sai Babu (827212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819265)

some sensible dual core damage control...

I guess. (3, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819285)

Intel does listen to their customers after all! I mean, after their flagship processor becomes incapable of scaling higher... And uh, emits more heat per area than most smelters.... and needs server-levels of expensive cache to keep it compeditive.

So yep, they respond very quickly to customer needs and wants.

Re:I guess. (4, Funny)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820661)

I read this as "more heat per acre than most smelters". This piqued my curiousity.

A Pentium 4 seems to run around 217 mm^2 and produce about 100W of heat. This is quickly converted to almost exactly 2.5 million horsepower/acre. Leaving aside the livestock management problems of fitting 2.5 million horses into your 1 acre field, we now turn to a smelter, running, according to ask Jeeves at about 1400K. Radiated heat output per unit area is sigma*T^4 for a black body, less for a real material (where sigma is the Stefan Boltzman contstant), although there will also be quite a bit of convection and so on, which we ignore because it's too hard.

So, thanks to the magic of the units program, we find that the Smelter puts out about 1.18 million hp/acre, or about half the power output of the PIV.

So parent was right, P4s really do put out more heat per area (or acre) than most smelters!

Intel cannot compete on perfoemance.... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819293)

"It's an easier way to communicate a group of functions to essentially a non-technical audience," said Nathan Brookwood...

They need to dupe the unsuspecting consumer - ala P.T. Barnum....

Big changes at Intel? (5, Informative)

data1 (23016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819323)

It seems the company is trying to go in a significantly different direction to retain its market dominance.

1) New Non Engineer CEO :
http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/business/2004/0 411 151128.asp?S=Career%20Moves&A=MOV&O=FRGN

2) GHz No longer a big deal after marketing it for so many years as the only major thing you need to know about the performance of a computer.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/14 /intel_kill s_4gh/

3) Shift to Better if not necessarily newer technology - see article above: oh who am I kidding....
http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/chipsets /display/2004 1111133206.html

Re:Big changes at Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819697)

"GHz No longer a big deal after marketing it for so many years"

With the pentium 4, Intel opted for longer pipelines and higher clock speed because thats what marketing demanded. People wanted more MHz and GHz because it was an easy way to know what was better. AMD was always in it for performance and did not optimize any number just to make the marketing guys happy (except benchmarks). Now that both have hit the power density hurdle, Intel seems to be behind on performance because they're at higher clock speed and both companies are stuck for a while.

While Intel is redesigning and changing CEOs, my guess is AMD will be working on manufacturing and new transistor structures like FINFETs.

Competitors (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819361)

After reading for a while yesterday (after checking yesterday's k=note about the latest intel processor). I found that VIA [via.com.tw] (who bought Cyrix, I think the best processor at the 4x86 era, after National semiconductors almost broke it) has been working on it for a while. Perhaps the increase on "speed" (power consumption) was the strategy to take AMD and Cyrix out of the market? Now they want to come back because their processors are that inefficient?

Unfortunately, it seems like VIA [via.com.tw] is not focused on the PC market. Why? If anyone has some "fair" benchmarks, etc about this processors, it would be nice to read the results.

Don't think so (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820709)

I don't think so.

Intel has basically been hanging itself with the awful lot of rope their own marketting gave them. The "MHz is everything" marketting was an easy thing to push, since most people actually _want_ one number that tells them everything about a CPU.

(True story: I actually spent some time arguing with a marketroid about it, and gave up. He was arguing that it must be Anantech's and everyone else's benchmarks that are at fault, because CPU A is in some apps 50% faster than CPU B, in some apps equal, and in some apps actually a little slower. "It can't be! If CPU A is X% faster than CPU B, it must be X% faster in everything!" Any explanations about differences in CPU architecture and such, went right above his head.)

So it was easy for Intel to push the MHz as the one true speed indicator. And for a while all they had to do was keep putting out CPUs with more and more MHz.

Except after a while it became a trap. Any new design _had_ to be higher MHz, or have Intel's own marketting working against it. All those many millions that went into telling people "buy a higher clocked CPU", now would basically tell them "don't buy the newest Intel CPU chip", if Intel made one with less MHz.

And now Intel finally _has_ to find a way out of the hole it dug itself into.

As for Cyrix (now VIA), it was never really a problem for Intel. Cyrix just fell behind performance-wise on its own. The last proper Cyrix versions were already falling beind in integer performance too, but it was their floating point performance that was abysmal. So what killed Cyrix was not as much Intel, as games going 3D: now everyone had benchmarks everywhere, clearly showing the Cyrix as barely crawling.

And Via's versions fell behind even more. They aren't just slower in MHz, they're also slower _per_ MHz. Other than being low power, they just suck.

And it's not that VIA really _wants_ to be the poor-man's niche, for Chinese families who can't afford an Intel or AMD. People find such niches to survive, but noone really wants to _stay_ in such a niche. Noone actually wants to sell their top CPU at $30 or less, instead of, say, the $600+ that an Athlon 64 FX sells for.

So if VIA could break out of that unprofitable niche, believe me, they would. The problem is simply that they can't.

How ironic (2, Funny)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819378)

I got a notebook machine with a desktop processor, and now I can get a desktop machine with a notebook procsesor. Superkeen.

How high can it climb? (5, Interesting)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819394)

I noticed that every x86 CPU architecture in the past decade climbed 4-5 times in MHz from inception to the "end of the line" model: 486 - 25..100(???, 133 is AMD's version and those started higher than 25), Pentium - 50..200, Pentium4 - 1200..3600 now and still has a tad in reserve as shown by extreme overclockers; similarly for AMD, K6 - 166..550; Athlon - 500..2.x(?). And now Pentium2/3 - started at 233 and climbed until around 1300, which is higher than 4/5x. But maybe there's been some really notable arch changes since P2? What're your thoughts?

Re:How high can it climb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10820157)

I noticed that every x86 CPU architecture in the past decade climbed 4-5 times in MHz from inception to the "end of the line" model: 486 - 25..100(???, 133 is AMD's version and those started higher than 25), Pentium - 50..200,


Pentium => 60 - 200
Petnium MMX => 133 - 233


Pentium4 - 1200..3600 now and still has a tad in reserve as shown by extreme overclockers; similarly for AMD, K6 - 166..550; Athlon - 500..2.x(?). And now Pentium2/3 - started at 233 and climbed until around 1300, which is higher than 4/5x. But maybe there's been some really notable arch changes since P2? What're your thoughts?


You forget, the P6 architecture started with the Pentium Pro

So...

PPro => 150 - 200 233 - 450 450 - 1.4 1.7 - ??? = ???x

P6/686 goes from 150MHz to over 2GHz
That's over 10x already.

What do you do when Itanic sinks? (4, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819428)

This is really about Intel finally coming to terms with the fact that nobody wants to buy Itanium chips. That's where Intel was headed, and Intel assumed that everyone would follow along. Unfortunately, Itanium's future depended on technology advancements that never happened, and a rate of adoption that nobody was willing to pursue.

This is why Xeon became an architectural dead end: Intel wasn't willing to move the technology forward, because Xeon was supposed to be superseded by Itanium.

Did you know that "Pentium M" is actually based on the same technology they originally called Pentium Pro? It's true. It was a good design. It didn't do all that well initially because its 16-bit performance was abysmal, and people were still running a lot of 16-bit software at the time. Now that everything is 32-bit, Pentium Pro (now Pentium M) is just fine. The fact that it gets used in laptops is a testament to its ratio of performance to power consumption.

Intel would be wise to move forward with this. They ought to ditch Xeon entirely, and perhaps even graft the AMD64 instruction set onto this chip.

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (0)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819600)

Of course, the original PPro's (60/66mhz) were hotter than a 40 watt light bulb. I made the mistake of touching just the side of one when working on a PS/2 that had one. That chip was the G5 of its time...how are they *ever* going to make that thing into a portable?

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819630)

I think you have confused the Pentium with the Pentium Pro. The Pentium Pro started at 150 Mhz. The Pentium started at 60 MHz.

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (0)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819790)

Ah, you're right. My bad.

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820148)

PS/2 with a ppro?

The last I heard was PS/2 XP machines with a pentium 60 (model 90 and 95 XP, and I guess there was a model 76/77 also)

After that they dropped the PS/2 line.

Also, I can see a ppro running at 66mhz, but I never saw Intel advertise one, 200 and 233mhz was more like it.

So... my guess is that you saw a pentium machine, not a pentium pro machine.

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (4, Insightful)

pertinax18 (569045) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819629)

Did you know that "Pentium M" is actually based on the same technology they originally called Pentium Pro?

So are the Pentium II and Pentium III, what's your point? The article clearly states (and it is common knowlegde) that the "M" is based on the PIII, this is no secret or some massive Intel conspiracy... Yes the Pentium Pro was a great design; it really has legs to go from 166MHz to 2GHz or whatever the "M" runs at these days. But it has been a long evolutionary process, not a direct jump from the Pro to "M".

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820107)

You don't see his point?

You should have read the next five words of the post before rushing off to complain then. Here, I'll put them right here: "It was a good design".

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

Dogers (446369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819639)

uhmm, the P2 and therefore P3 and therefore PM were all based off Pentium Pro..

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819734)

They ought to ditch Xeon entirely, and perhaps even graft the AMD64 instruction set onto this chip.

I believe they will put the x64 set on all their x86 chips, but I doubt they'll dump Xeon. Xeon is mainly a server & workstation rated version of their desktop chip, not some pixie-dust chip.

Part of it is available higher cache, the rest is often better testing for multiprocessing, de-rated chips and they are also the chips that are tested to consume less power of a fab batch. Intel would also introduce features onto Xeon platforms to test them out and see if the market accepts them, such as dual channel memory (I have a PIII Xeon 500MHz with dual channel memory), hyperthreading, EM64T (x64) and so on before rolling it out to the masses.

If they do put a desktop version of Pentium M in the desktop, I would bet they'll make a Xeon M.

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819800)

"This is why Xeon became an architectural dead end: Intel wasn't willing to move the technology forward, because Xeon was supposed to be superseded by Itanium."
Okay I guess you have not read that Intel is going to produce a Xeon with x64 extensions. The Xeon is not really an architectural family but Really big cache super tested server grade versions of Intels CPUS. There are PII Xeons, PIII Xeons, and now PIV Xeons. The Itanium was supposed to replace the Xeons in Workstations and I would guess eventually in servers it has proven to be less the the stealler hit that Intel wanted. The big question is will Intel stay in the server market? Will it be reduced to a bit player? If I was Intel I would be worried by AMD's x64 chips on the low end and IBM's Power Chips + Linux on the high end. I have to wonder if we are possibly seeing the end of the X86 ISA? I mean Microsoft is droping the X86 from the XBoxII that means a port of WindowsXP to the PowerPC. Really kind of funny since WindowsNT was supposed to be multiplatform for the start. Will Microsoft support Longhorn on IBMs power cpus? Could the Power5 chips be the nail in the Itanium's coffin? Frankly Intel has really had a dismal record with cpus except for the x86 The 8080 and later 8085 because second string players to the Zilog Z80 a better 8080 much like the Athlons are now. The 432 and 80860 where never hits. Intel even dropped its 890 line of embeded risc cpus to jump on the ARM bandwagon with it's Xscale line it bought from DEC. Frankly with the Itanium's failure to set the world on fire it might be wise of them to look at the Alpha IP they own. Could an updated Alpha compete with IBM's Power line?
Could you make a low power embedded alpha and stop paying royalties to ARM?

Re:What do you do when Itanic sinks? (3, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820397)

Okay I guess you have not read that Intel is going to produce a Xeon with x64 extensions.

Not "going to"... "have"... They have been for sale (and actually shipping) for a couple months now.

I have to wonder if we are possibly seeing the end of the X86 ISA?

Well... If one thing has been proven in the past it is that software is the driving force, not hardware. It will still take some time for the near 30 years of x86 software to be replaced by "platform independent" stuff (like Java and .NET).

I mean Microsoft is droping the X86 from the XBoxII that means a port of WindowsXP to the PowerPC.

Yeah... this is really interesting... especially along with the three versions of the XBox2 that will be shipping (one of which is actually called a "PC").

Really kind of funny since WindowsNT was supposed to be multiplatform for the start.

It was. I had PPC, Alpha, and MIPS versions. One major problem for those was that there wasn't a market for them. There were only a few machines of those types of architectures that wanted to run Windows and no one for home would buy them. It just didn't make sense to keep them around (from a making money perspective). Also, some of the work to support those ports were supposed to be done by hardware vendors and they didn't do it (also because of the making money issue) so Microsoft was either left to do it themselves (on a losing money platform) or drop them from the support line.

Will Microsoft support Longhorn on IBMs power cpus?

Very good question... with the XBox2, it certainly seems that it wouldn't be too much of a step farther.

Frankly Intel has really had a dismal record with cpus except for the x86 The 8080 and later 8085 because second string players to the Zilog Z80 a better 8080 much like the Athlons are now. The 432 and 80860 where never hits. Intel even dropped its 890 line of embeded risc cpus to jump on the ARM bandwagon with it's Xscale line it bought from DEC.

Well... some folks would disagree with this. The 8051 (and followons) were huge in the embedded world. The i860 wasn't intended to be a "home PC" type processor and saw good use in the HPC world (Intel Paragons, iPSC860s, etc.) and in the graphics world (high end SGI graphics cards were based on i860s - RealityEngine, etc.) Likewise, the i960 family was huge in embedded systems. They were big in printers and all sorts of other devices. The i960s were phased out for newer/better technology in the XScales. The i960 was getting pretty old :)

Low Power Embedded Arm (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820617)

Low-power embedded Alpha chips exist, they're called StrongArm. These StrongArm chips are the results a collaboration between Arm and DEC's Alpha team, and the sons of StrongArm are called XScale. Intel bought the StrongArm stuff from DEC; Arm kept hold of their part of the work.

[my attempt at being funny] (1)

snig64 (793215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819507)

slower ... but higher performing? oxymoron? [my attempt at being funny]

Re: (0, Offtopic)

snig64 (793215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819561)

blah. that other one wasn't there when I posted. :S now I'm going to get a redundant, because I cannot figure out how to delete my own message...

Re: (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819580)

Try harder.

We will destroy amd64! (3, Funny)

Mohammed Al-Sahaf (665285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819659)

As chief information minister for Intel Corporation, let me assure you we will destroy the AMD infidels! The Opteron is like a snake which is going to be cut into pieces. The force that was in the airport.. this force is destroyed. Let the AMD bastards bask in their illusion, we have given them a sour taste. We have them surrounded.

Bout bloody time (1)

Mr.roboto (112555) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819869)

heh, Intel finally got it's head out of it's rear end in my opinion and saw the virtues of the P-3 cores. The Tulatin benches that were out there when AMD was hammering Intel on the P-4 were incredible, beating out the AMD chips of the same clock speed and violating P-4s with a clock %25 higher. Intel chose marketing though, a 3.8 ghz chip is a victory to them I guess. The P-4 was *not* a popular chip originally, even though that was partly due to the whole rambus debocal. I'll believe that when I see it though, I don't think Intel would do it if only for the reason it's not as marketable.

Re:Bout bloody time (2, Interesting)

qtothemax (766603) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820379)

I'll believe that when I see it though, I don't think Intel would do it if only for the reason it's not as marketable.

Of course its marketable. The new model number scheme puts the p4 at 4xx, while the M is 6xx. Thats 200 more. It must be a lot better. I knew they'd do this as soon as they came out with the model numbers.

Note: I'm not a moron. I'm just writing what "joe sixpack" thinks.

Bit late for me (5, Funny)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819921)

I went through an upgrade about 2 months ago. Looked around to see whether I could get a Pentium-M motherboard and CPU (in Perth, Western Australia - hah.)

I liked the idea of throttling the CPU back when it wasn't busy. We get daytime temps of 100+ degrees (40 deg centigrade) fairly regularly in summer, keeping a hot CPU cool isn't fun.

Before I wasted too much time looking, I read about the Athlon64 3400+ and that was that. Mind you, cool 'n' quiet locked up hard on my Gigabyte K8NSNXP bios revisions F5 and F6. (Whether I was running Win Xp or Linux) Rev. F7 came out about 3 weeks after I got the board, and it's been rock solid at 1ghz to 2.4 ghz ever s--

M beats lots of stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10819968)

I picked up a bog-standard 1.6GHz Centrino notebook to augment/replace a 600MHz Transmeta notebook and an old 800MHz Vaio notebook. I figured it would do most things about twice as well, most of the time, and the rest of the time I'd use the desktop. In reality, it blows my 2.8GHz desktop out of the water in stuff like video editing, TV recording and timeslipping BBC Radio 4 & 7. It's really made me think how much value one assigns to megahertz.

Re:M beats lots of stuff (2, Insightful)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820217)

I have been waiting for this. Pentium M == more "bang" per megahertz. The P4 architecture was a hot, sweaty botch. In essence, they are going "backward" (to the still extensible PIII architecture) to move forward.

People have been using VIA EPIA because they want little, cool, quiet computers. Now it looks like little, cool, quiet computers will finally get a REAL processor.

And yes! It runs Linux! ^_^

PS: I'd welcome AMD trying a similar tack to make a cooler chip that requires less active cooling. I'm not an Intel fangirl. I'm a fan of computers that work.

celeron M alreadon on the shelf (1)

EDinNY (262952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10819977)

Not sure about the rest of the chip set, but a friend bought a computer at Best Buy with a Celeron M yesterday. So they are already selling Celeron M's.

Really! Trust me! Just give me your money! (0, Flamebait)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820339)

Yea right, they could get their new line of processors to work worth a crap. News services are heralding the death of the Itantium. Intel had to adopt AMD instruction sets to stay alive and competative. Sounds to me more like its a "let's go back to something we no works, rebrand it and tell 'em all it's better" pitch. I hop ethis one backfires on them too. I have some old P3's I will sell you cheaper than their rebranded ones. Just send me your money!

Let’s be precise folks (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820372)

Cheaper, slower, cooler, but higher performing

Let's be precise here folks. Slower clock rate. I got the wrong impression the first time I read this, and likely others did too.

Uh, Excuse Me... (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820412)

"Intel Centrino" synonymous to long battery life and flawless wireless networking

Excuse me. Certainly we're not referring to 802.11g wireless networking here, are we?

It's statements like that one that make me doubt the entire article. Just who are these guys anyway?

Just confirming what google knows? (3, Interesting)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820468)

Cringely had an article a while back [pbs.org] that mentioned Google liking to use Pentium IIIs in their data center. Yes the Pentium 4s were faster, but if you looked at your datacenter as a whole system, including power, cooling, and space requirements, they were better off with 'old' Pentium IIIs. At the time, I think Google was worried they wouldn't be able to source new machines with P-IIIs, looks like Intel is following them this time. Intel seems to be following a lot lately, the megahertz at any cost mantra sure faded fast.

Old(er) article about CPU and power consumption (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10820712)

Interesting read from eWeek [eweek.com] , talking about CPU power consumption and California energy woes (which server farms helped contribute to).
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