Intel In 2003

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The Inquirer has gotten a look at some new Intel roadmaps, and on the whole, it represents some good news for AMD in 2003.

Intel is basically going to shoot its wad for Christmas, then do practically nothing for the next six months after that.

Intel will introduce a 3.06GHz processor in the fall, then not release a faster processor until a 3.20GHz processor in Q4.

More importantly, the .09 micron PIV, codenamed Prescott, will debut at only 3.2GHz, and that will be the second half of the year.

All these together indicate that .13 micron PIVs are topping out at a speed somewhat lower than anticipated. Initially, the guesstimates were 3.5GHz without too much problem, 4GHz pushing it.

Perhaps CPU manufacturers are reaching the point of diminishing returns from die shrinks. The old, easy techniques and materials are starting to fail, and the newer techniques have their own problems.

The increasing burden of heat can’t be helping matters. The 3GHz+ Northwoods will meet or exceed per square mm the heat put out by the fabled furnace-on-a-chip Thunderbirds. Never mind the descendants of that fiery feathered creature.

Anyhow, Intel’s pause should give AMD some breathing room for at least the first half of 2003, if not more.

If AMD can come out with a 3400+ (or close) Hammer, can get people to swallow that rating, and have reasonably reliable platforms for it; their fortunes could revive more than a bit.



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