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Intel's 64-bit Technology: Come Late, Stay Quiet.
Intel's 64-bit Technology: Come Late, Stay Quiet. - PCSTATS
Intel's recent incorporation of 64-bit x86-compatible instructions into its chips could be classified as pretty much invisible.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Intel Mar 01 2005   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > Intel Pentium 4

What AMD and Intel Did

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. AMD 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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Contents of Article: Intel Pentium 4
 Pg 1.  Intel's 64-bit Technology: Come Late, Stay Quiet.
 Pg 2.  Pentium 4 6xx series: birthplace of Intel desktop 64-bit
 Pg 3.  EIST: Enhanced Intel Speed Step technology
 Pg 4.  — What AMD and Intel Did

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