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Intel Presents Roadmap for Multi-Core CPUs

Intel officials announced new details regarding the company’s upcoming dual and multi-core processors at its Spring 2005 Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco this week, including a two-year timeline for the arrival of key chips and technologies.

The company also introduced product development kits (PDK) for its upcoming Fully Buffered Dual In-line Memory Module (FB-DIMM) technology in order to hasten its adoption by product developers. Intel is counting on several new technologies, including FB-DIMM, to help enhance the performance and reliability of its upcoming multi-core server platform, codenamed “Bensley.”

In order to help assure that developers’ products that take advantage of new technologies work properly, Intel officially launched a lab testing program, officials said.

Additionally, Intel disclosed that the company’s first mainstream dual-core desktop processor, codenamed “Smithfield,” will be branded as the Pentium D. Intel expects PC designs based on the Pentium D and the new supporting chipsets to begin shipping during the second quarter.

The company also gave preliminary details regarding several upcoming multi-core processors and platforms based on them.

For instance, "Richford," which is due in 2007, will include two Intel Itanium processors codenamed "Tukwila." It will be followed by a future-generation Intel Itanium processor codenamed "Poulson."

Intel’s first dual-core Xeon processor MP, codenamed "Paxville," is scheduled for availability in the first quarter of 2006, with seeding programs to businesses and software developers beginning by the end of this year. Another new platform, codenamed "Reidland," will include a Xeon processor MP with more than two cores, which is codenamed "Whitefield." It’s due out in 2007. (Intel Xeon processors MP are used in servers with four or more processors per server.)

Intel says that the platform codenamed "Bensley" is coming out in the first quarter of 2006 and will be based on the dual-core Intel Xeon processor, codenamed "Dempsey." The same processor will also power a high-end workstation platform codenamed "Glidewell."

Meanwhile, a digital office focused platform, codenamed "Lyndon," will bow this year and will be based on the Intel 945/955 Chipset family and the Intel Pentium 4 processor 5xx/6xx as well as the dual core Intel Pentium D Processor, codenamed "Smithfield." Lyndon will support both Intel Active Management Technology and Intel Virtualization Technology.

To prepare for the Bensley release, Intel is also offering developers a PDK. “The Bensley Enterprise Platform PDK enables memory suppliers, OEMs and IHVs to develop compatible time-to-market products based on the ‘Blackford’ chipset used on the Bensley platform, both . . . scheduled for introduction in the first quarter of 2006,” the company said in a prepared statement. The PDK consists of a motherboard based on Bensley platform components.

Intel’s new Independent Hardware Vendors Driver Optimization (IHV) Labs provides “a hands-on environment for developing, testing and optimizing enterprise products” with emphasis on new Intel platform technologies. The first labs program is focused on FB-DIMM interoperability and driver readiness for Intel’s EM64T technology for systems running Windows or Linux.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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