Intel Gets Bit Between Its Teeth

The role out of 64 bit technology from the chip giant gathers momentum with the release of five compliant desktop processors.

The ramp up to 64 bit computing has taken another large step forward today as Intel finally brings its own EM64T technology to the desktop.

Five processors will be made immediately available: the Intel P4 Extreme Edition clocked at 3.73GHz, and four 6xx chips: the 660, 650, 640 and 630 clocked at 3.6GHz, 3.4GHz, 3.2GHz and 3GHz respectively.

Both lines will be fabricated on the 90 nanometre (nm) process and come with 2MB of level two cache. Intel’s Execute Disable Bit technology, designed to alleviate buffer overruns and its StepStep power management architecture (long used with its mobile chips) are also incorporated.

The main differences between the two lines will be the faster bus on the Extreme Edition (targeted at the hardcore gamer) which runs at 1066MHz (unchanged from previous incarnations) while the 6xxs are rated at 800Mhz.

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The move to 64bit desktop processors at long last sees Intel catch up with main rival AMD which has been shipping its Athlon 64 line since the end of 2003. Ironically, just as Intel takes up one technology it will slowly abandon another, since the role out of dual core desktop processors will begin in the second half of this year. Upgrading, ain’t it a bummer?

We will have reviews of both the 3.73GHz Extreme Edition and 3.6GHz 660 soon to help you make a choice.

In other news, Intel has also begun shipments of its latest 64bit Xeon DP chip, previously codenamed “Irwindale”. Irwindale features 2MB of on-die level two cache – double previous versions – and like its new desktop processors, is fabbed at 90nm and already supports EM64T.