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  1. Technology
June 2, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

A few pieces of intelligence on Intel Corp’s developing plans for the P6 and P7 microprocessors have been gleaned by US PC Week and MacWeek, and the former believes the company now plans to have the P6 in servers and workstations by the end of next year. But the Pentium is not intended to fade away: the company is shrinking the die size in the hope of being able to set clocks well in excess of 200MHz against 100MHz maximum now, and envisages producing a range of Pentiums in massive volumes and pricing them low enough for entry-level systems. P6-based machines should offer two to eight times the power of current Pentium servers. The P6 is expected to come as a two-chip module, the second chip being 256Kb of high-speed cache, and to include enhanced multiprocessing logic, based on Intel’s Multiprocessing Specification, enabling manufacturers to mass-produce standard system boards supporting as many as four P6 CPUs. The first P6 is expected to be clocked at 133MHz, and to be fabricated in the 0.6 micron process now used for the fastest Pentiums, delivering an integer SPEC rating of 200 or more. It will later move the P6 to a new 0.4-micron process to raise the clock speed. Intel wants to optimize its 0.6-micron process to yield 120MHz Pentium chips in volume by the second quarter of 1995 and 133MHz chips by the third quarter, before going to 150MHz using the 0.4 micron process. Meantime MacWeek hears that the P7 will be a full RISC processor that emulates iAPX-86 instructions in hardware to deliver at least Pentium-level performance – but it will need to be more. In technical briefings, Intel is said to have described where it can already identify fixed-length, RISC-like instructions and variable-length complex instructions, separating them for execution within the Pentium and P6 processors. The key problem Intel faces with that strategy will be to get people to write to the native mode of the RISC – already it is having difficulty getting software developers to exploit the advances in the Pentium architecture, and even the 80486, over the 80386.Intel, refusing to comment on the specifics of future Intel microprocessors, asserted to the paper Emulation in hardware and software will not be part of the Intel architecture in the foreseeable generations.

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