Intel's product line is considerably larger
and more complex, but mainly based around the white elephant, Socket
775, so it would do them little good to set the EM64T enabled
processors aside as a different product with a different name now that they've taken
the trouble to integrate everything under the processor numbering system.
Besides the 64-bit tech
and the cache boost, the 6xx line of P4s are identical to previous designs.
Intel doesn't need or intend to scrap its non-64bit processors lines in
the near future. Instead, it is expected that the company will
simply incorporate the new tech into the old, as the underlying architecture is
identical. We're not sure how this will play in with the 'Mobile' series chips,
but we'll assume that Intel has plans for them too.
In short, by blending the EM64T enabled chips with their other products, it appears as though Intel is
positioning its products carefully to keep chips sales strong, while being able to play the
64-bit trump card when it's needed.
Come Late, Stay Quiet:
Another likely reason for the low-profile launch of
64-bit/32-bit Intel chips is how long it has taken Intel to get them to market.
has had the Opteron since April of 2003, almost a
full two years ago. Intel risks looking sluggish by trumpeting its launch of 64-bit
x86-compatible chips so far into the game.
Some marketing execs probably figured that it's better to release the 6xx
line with EM64T quietly, so that the hardware community knows P4s are now 64-bit
but no one else really pays much attention. Then when Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit
finally emerges, fire up the marketing blitz. As far as the typical member of
the public (or CEO) will be concerned at that point, Intel will have had 64-bit
support all along...
This idea makes sense for a few reasons. First of all,
Windows XP 64 is going to provide a clean slate for AMD and Intel, as neither
company's chip will really have been tested (outside of Linux) en mass
before this OS drops - beta and trial WinXP 64 versions excluded. Once XP 64
publicly emerges, it's a whole new ball game.
Secondly, early benchmarks indicate that the 6xx line of
chips still perform in line with other Intel
Pentium 4 chips (in fact they perform
like the first Intel Extreme Edition P4s), meaning there are no radical
performance jumps to shout about like we saw with the Athlon64 versus just about
anything else when that chip first came out.
Thirdly, the only buyers that are going to care whether
their P4s are 64-bit enabled are Linux users (early adopters and gamers will
have already bought Athlon 64s) so it's not like Intel would stand to gain much
market share from trumpeting EM64T now any ways.
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