Saturday, December 31, 2005

In some ways, the older days were better, the more the Megahertz, the better the processor, and of course, Intel ruled the roost, so there was no Intel-AMD battle to choose from. With the introduction of technologies such as 64 bit computing and dual core processors, AMD gradually made up ground, and Intel seemed to have reached the pinnacle. After the rude awakening, Intel took on new strategies, and changed the naming convention for their processors. No more are processor names as simple as “Pentium 4 - 2.4 GHz”, instead of which you’ll find “Intel Pentium D 7xx” (I can’t remember the exact number). So, let us analyse what Intel’s new numbers actually mean.

First things first, the “D” in newer Intel processors does not stand for dual-core, but instead for ‘desktop’. Now, let’s the the various series Intel has to offer:

* Intel Pentium 3xx - These are the modern day equivalent of the Celeron processor. It has no bells and whistles such as HyperThreading and is low on cache (512KB). Also note that Mobile Celeron is also included in this series.
* Intel Pentium 5xx - These are the standard Intel processors (read P4) without features such as HyperThreading, but they do have a nice 1MB of L2 cache.
* Intel Pentium 6xx - These are Intel’s high end single core processors which come with HyperThreading and 2MB of L2 cache.
* Intel Pentium 7xx - These are a special series of processors which include only mobile Intel processor from the Pentium M family. (Centrino family included).
* Intel Pentium 8xx - These are intel’s top end dual-core processors. The Pentium D 840 EE is Intel’s current flagship processor.
* EE (Extreme Edition) - These are souped up, overclocked versions of high end Intel processors.
* Pentium D - These processors are meant for desktop computers. They feature in the 3xx, 5xx, 6xx and 8xx series.
* Pentium M - They are Intel’s mobile processors (the ones keeping Intel alive ;-) ), and are ideally meant to be used in Notebook computers. However, with their excellent power saving and noise reduction capabilities, they have been adopted by some desktop computers too, with some brands making special motherboards for implementing these processors on the Desktop PC. They feature only in the 3xx and 7xx series right now.
* EM64T - It stands for Extended Memory 64 Technology and it is Intel’s answer to AMD’s Athlon 64. Keeping it simple, they are those processors which support the 64-bit instruction sets.

Future Processors

* Intel Yonah - This processor will go into mass production next year. It is a range of dual-core processors for notebooks.
* Intel Whitefield - It is a dual core version of Intel’s Xeon server processor.
* Dual Core Itanium 2 - As it says, it’s a dual core version of the Itanium 2 processor.

NOTE :- To those of you who have been expecting a Pentium 5 for ages, all I have to say is that the chances of that ever happening are quite negligible, because Intel are trying to make their nomenclature more sensible (a little too much, maybe ? :think: ), and there’s no point in adding a number because the clock speeds increase (which isn’t likely either) !