Intel reveals paths for processor development

Intel reveals paths for processor development

Intel will continue to develop 32-bit processors well into the next century and has plans for a new micro-architecture to replace the Pentium II. On a parallel track, the vendor is already developing successors to Merced even though the IA-64 CPU is not due to ship until 2000.

On the 64-bit side, Intel will follow Merced with the faster McKinley CPU, said Fred Pollack, director of measurement, architecture, and planning at Intel.

"McKinley will have greater than two times the performance of Merced," Pollack said. McKinley will have very large cache memories that run at the full speed of the processor and communicate with the CPU over a wide bus on the chip.

Following McKinley, Intel will run IA-64 development on two tracks, one concentrating on pure performance and the other aiming for a price/performance balance.

For IA-64 processors, Intel will offer core-logic chip sets that handle as many as eight CPUs in a system. Vendors prefer to use their own chip-set designs for IA-64 multiprocessor systems with 32 or more processors.

In 1999, Intel will replace the IA-32 Pentium II Xeon CPUs with Tanner, a workstation and server CPU that includes Katmai New Instructions. Tanner, in turn, will give way to Cascades, which will use 0.18-micron technology. Like the low-cost Celeron CPU, Cascades will have on-chip L2 cache.

The Foster CPU, due in 2001, will offer a new architecture to replace the P6 architecture of the Pentium Pro and Pentium II families.

Pollack also disclosed that Intel is designing Colusa, a core-logic chip set to handle as many as four IA-32 CPUs. Colusa will work with Foster, a CPU that Intel will introduce a few months after introducing Merced.

Willamette, a version of Foster also due sometime in 2001, will replace the Pentium II in desktops. With speeds faster than 1GHz, Foster will be used in mainstream workstations and servers. Although Merced will clearly be faster at running applications recompiled to use its 64-bit architecture, Foster will actually run existing 32-bit applications slightly faster than Merced, Pollack said.

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