65nm dual core processors up to 3.6GHz.
Ever since Intel followed AMD’s lead and admitted clock speed was not the be-all and end-all in determining processor performance (unlike the megapixel myth still sadly perpetuated in photography) some of the excitement has gone out of the CPU world. True, it made little sense the way it was before but we can’t deny that seeing the first processors to break 100MHz, then 1GHz made us tingle in all the right ways. These days, most of us don’t even know the speed rating of the CPU in our own machines and consequently the publicity has rather fallen away.
Instead it is now all about cores. We got excited about the first dual core processors but we don’t seem too bothered about the incremental speed increases when we can just step up to four cores. The same will probably be true once that technology is established: we’ll only get out of bed for eight. Well, both companies are still doing their best between now and then to perks your interests. Let’s see if Intel can…
The chip leviathan has a new flagship Pentium D ready for us: the 960 (which – for the record – is clocked at 3.6GHz so we’re ”still” not in 4GHz territory). It’s fabbed at 65nm and was originally due towards the end of last month but slipped to the middle of this one. It supports an 800MHz FSB, posses two 2MB Level Two caches (that’s a lot of twos) and comes with the usual techs: 64bit, Enhanced Speedstep, VT, et al.
Like all top end chips it carries a hefty entry price of $637 when shipped in its usual quantities of 1,000 so expect an increase even on that when retailers get them in stock. Mildly excited? Yeah, that about sums us up too. Perhaps a more suitable time to lift a cursory eyebrow will be in July when Intel unleashes its ‘Conroe’ desktop chip which it claims to develop a whopping 40 per cent performance increase on the 960. See, dual core can still be interesting…