Just What Are You Getting In That Prescott? . . . .

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AMD is not the only CPU company taking dies that don’t quite cut it and sell them as somewhat lesser processors (aka Athlon 3000+). Intel has been doing this, too.

For instance, most in this audience knows that the Extreme Edition is basically a repackaged Xeon, but did you know that there is also a 2.4C and 2.8C “regular” PIV (sspecs SL6Z3 and SL6Z5 respectively) that are also ex-Xeons?

Take a look here (page 15) and you’ll see that these two CPUs along with the EE have an “M-0.” In the notes, Intel says that “Intel Pentium(R) 4 processor . . . M-0 stepping is a unique stepping of Intel Pentium(R) 4 processors.”

This sounds very mysterious until you look at the equivalent document for Xeons and see the same M-0 steppings.

Indeed, look a little harder, and you’ll see that there are MP Xeons with the same CPUID as these M-0s, and just happen to be named SL6Z6, SL6Z7 and SL6Z8.

Hmmmm.

Correction: We initially said here that Dothans were going to be used as Prescotts, but on rehearing the interview, this was a misinterpretation of what Intel’s president said. He said something like “we’ll use the wafers for Prescott instead” and what he meant was that he’d use the capacity to make Dothans to make Prescotts instead rather than actual Dothan wafers. Our regrets.

But there’s more to come.

The regular Prescott itself has gone through a number of steppings, and there’s been rumors that Intel plans on selling the earlier attempts, too, either as low-speed Prescotts or as Prescott Celerons.

We’re not saying Intel is doing anything wrong by doing this. In the case of the Dothans, Mr. Otellini said that the reason why Dothan went for another stepping was due to low yield on “marginal” circuitry. For the rest, I have no doubt that the CPUs will get the job done fine at their rated speeds.

But we overclockers aren’t interested in just that, now are we?

When Prescott becomes available, if you decide to buy one, you ought to be very careful to determine just what it is you are buying. It is likely that there will a number of steppings available, and that information may or may not be available when they are first released.

We’ll certainly do the homework and tell you what’s going on as soon as that information does becomes available, so you don’t have to kill yourself.

Just be aware that this is something you’ll need to check into before buying. If you want to be the first kid on your block with a Prescott, you might end up with a rather early version of one, which is not what you want to do.

Ed

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