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Pentium 4: Prescott released

Read about the next-generation Pentium-processor that was released  February 2.

Prescott was the working title for the next generation of the Pentium 4-architecture. Februari 2 the processor was released at 2.8GHz, 3GHz, 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz . The prices will be between 178 and 400 dollar depending on the model. A faster processor at 3.6GHz are expected a couple of months later. At the end of 2004 Prescott will reach 4GHz.

Intel Introduces Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors On High-Volume 90-Nanometer Manufacturing Technology

Prescott will be manufactured with a line-width of 90 nm compared to the first generation (Willamette) which was manufactured with a line-width of 180 nm. The previous generation (Nortwood) had a line width of 130 nm. At every new generation Intel has been able to fit twice as many transistors as the previous generation. By decreasing the circuit surface the processor also becomes cheaper to manufacture. Usually the manufacturer chooses to do both.

The first generation Pentium 4 had a L2 cache of 256 KB while today's generation has a cache of 512 Kb. Prescott will nprmally have a 1 MB L2 cache and an 800 MHz front side bus (FSB). In conjunction, this will improve the processor performance significantly.

Smaller transistors in Prescott allow higher clock frequencies and thus even better performance. An integrated security function will also prevent intruders from reading or writing to the hard drive.

Prescott will also offer improved hyperthreading capabilities. Hyperthreading is a technology that potentially lets a single processor act almost like two.

Designed for multimedia

Prescott will also be complemented with 13 additional processor instructions unavailable in Pentium 4. According to Intel these instructions are of significant use for the future use of PCs. This might indicate that the instructions are intended to improve video performance.

Rumors have previously claimed that the new instructions would be 64-bit instructions in order to compete with the upcoming 32/64-bit processor "Clawhammer" from AMD. Instructions in 64-bits makes it possible to address larger quantities of data than what today’s 32-bit processors can handle. The "Hammer" from AMD is expected to be much faster than today’s processors and compete with Intel’s 64-bit Itanium-processors while being much cheaper. This extra 64-bit instruction only takes up a few percent of the circuit size, thus making manufacturing cheap for Intel.

by Lars Andersson
Published: Feb 2, 2004

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