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Intel Monday took the wraps off of one of its fastest desktop processors and gave a heads-up on plans for a specially designed server chip.The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant said its latest Pentium 4 reaches speeds up to 3.2 GHz and are retailing for $637 in mass quantities. The chips are precursors to Intel's next generation P4 (code-named "Prescott" and due out later this year). The Prescott line is expected to be based on 90-nanometer process and include Hyper-Threading, LaGrande security technology and could possibly hit the 5GHz mark.
Hyper-Threading, which had been vigorously applied to Intel's server chips, is now making its way into its newest generation of desktop ones. The technology allows multithreaded operating systems and applications to view a single physical processor as if it were two logical processors. Intel says it's similar to watching television while talking on the phone.
In the same vein of handling many processes at once, Intel also said it has come up with a new Itanium 2 processor designed for high performance computing (HPC).
Intel HPC manager Rick Herman said the chip is based on the Madison architecture and was not part of the original Itanium roadmap.
"It's a high performance dual processor with an optimized part and the framework is performing the best per-gigaflop in the architecture," Herman told internetnews.com.
Madison is the next upgrade for the Itanium "McKinley" series. The first versions of Madison, currently in pre-production, are still slated for release this summer with 1.5GHz with 3MB or 6MB on-chip L3 cache and Itanium 2 pin compatible. The 2004 model is expected to be faster and carry 9MB on chip L3 cache on .13u process.
Herman said the new Madison will be shipping in the third quarter of this year, but declined to get more specific than. The company said it would release more details about its Madison series on Wednesday.
Intel is however crowing about its latest milestone in the computing world. The company just secured three places in the Top 10 on the biannual supercomputer Top500list. The Itanium processor family also broke into the top 10 for the first time. A Hewlett-Packard Superdome in use at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. secured the eighth position on the list.
Two Xeon-based clusters at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory make up Intel's two other Top 10 entries. An IBM
xSeries cluster sits at number six. The MCR Linux cluster built by Linux Networx is positioned in the number three spot.
Intel currently has 119 systems on the list, up from 56 just six months ago. The company now claims more than one-third of the world's most powerful computers have Intel processors inside of them.