CPU roadmap: Intel and AMD's new chips

A raft of new chips is on the way from Intel, with AMD in hot pursuit

By the end of the year, the picture will have changed dramatically for consumer and high-end PCs. Intel and AMD are both planning to release a raft of new processors, bringing new capabilities, greater simplicity and lower prices to consumers. The next chips to appear will probably be AMD's Duron and "Thunderbird" chips, respectively for the value and mainstream PC markets (Thunderbird is a code name). Both are derived from the Athlon architecture introduced last autumn. The chips will be AMD's first high-end processors to integrate the L2 cache onto the die, allowing the cache access speed to keep up with the processor speed. AMD says both chips will have more L2 memory than Intel's rival Celeron and Pentium III processors. These will be followed in the second half by "Corvette" and "Mustang", code names for enhanced versions of Thunderbird: Mustang will be for desktops, Corvette for mobile processors. Both will include a large on-die L2 cache and a reduced core size allowing for greater performance with lower power usage. "Sledgehammer" won't appear until early next year, and is to compete with Intel's IA-64 64-bit chips, such as "Itanium". Whereas Itanium is not backward-compatible to 32-bit software, for all practical purposes, AMD's Sledgehammer will have 64-bit capabilities but remain compatible with the x86 instruction set. Beginning around midyear, Intel will roll out completely new chips for value PCs, mainstream desktops and high-end servers and workstations. "Timna" will gradually take over the value category from Celeron. Timna is ultra-integrated, combining the CPU, memory and graphics controller on a single "system on a chip". The greater integration will mean lower manufacturing costs; systems could cost under $600 (about £366). "Willamette" is Intel's update of the 32-bit platform (IA-32), and will include such performance-enhancing features as Hyper Pipelined Technology, which will enable clock speeds of over 1GHz. "Itanium", Intel's first IA-64 chip, is supposed to create an entirely new high-end category, and is being targeted at e-business. The fast processing will be particularly suited for executing encryption instructions, Intel promises.

AMD Intel
Mobile Mobile K6 series
Pentium III
Value Desktop K6 series
Mainstream Desktop Athlon
Pentium III
Performance 'Sledgehammer'
(early 2001)
Pentium III
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