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Intel plans even more new CPUs

Just a day after rewriting its road map for Basic PC Celeron processors, Intel last week did the same for its desktop/mobile and workstation/server Pentium II processors, detailing plans for faster, cheaper, cooler chips to debut next year.

Next year's shrink from a 0.25-micron process to 0.18-micron geometries will increase speeds because the chip is smaller, reduce production costs because each wafer holds more chips, and cut power consumption because the chips operate at lower voltages, explained Tony Massimini, chief of technology at Semico Research.

All of Intel's Pentium II processors will have shifted from the 0.35-micron Klamath design to the 0.25-micron Deschutes architecture this quarter, an Intel representative said. Last week, Paul Otellini, Intel's executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture business group, that most of Intel's processor production had already moved to the 0.25-micron process.

Next year, Intel plans to offer IA-32 microprocessors using a 0.18-micron process, Otellini said.

Those processors will include the Katmai New Instructions that Intel will be introducing early next year, according to the Intel representative. The first transition, early in 1999, will be from the Pentium II processor for desktops and notebooks and the Pentium II Xeon for workstations and servers to, respectively, a processor also code-named Katmai for desktop and notebook applications and the Tanner central processing unit (CPU), a Pentium II Xeon-class CPU with Katmai New Instructions.

Although Intel will build those two processors using its current 0.25-micron process, the company will quickly follow them with 0.18-micron versions. The Coppermine desktop and mobile chip and the Cascade workstation and server CPU will debut in the second half of next year, the Intel representative said.

The transition to 0.18-micron manufacturing is ahead of schedule, according to Otellini, so Intel is planning production of the first parts at least a quarter earlier than expected.

"We've pulled in our plans on 0.18," the Intel representative concurred.

On Tuesday, Intel announced it would be shipping higher-speed Celeron processors earlier than originally anticipated.