10 September 2002 Semiconductor giant Intel has demonstrated a Pentium 4 microprocessor capable of running at up to 4.7 gigahertz (GHz) – almost twice the speed of the fastest Pentium 4s available today. The chip was built on 0.13 micron process manufactured silicon.
Chief operating officer Paul Otellini has also revealed that Intel’s hyper-threading technology will be incorporated into the 3 GHz Pentium 4 PC microprocessors that will be released in the fourth quarter. The technology boosts performance by about 25%, he said, and will be rolled out throughout the company’s Pentium 4 range next year.
Hyper-threading enables a single physical microprocessor to execute two separate code streams concurrently. It is designed to take advantage of the symmetric multi-processing capabilities of modern operating systems such as Linux and Windows 2000 and was first introduced in the Xeon server microprocessor in the second quarter of 2002.
Otellini was speaking on the opening day of the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, California. In 2003, hyper-threading would feature in 25% of the PC chips sold, 60% of Intel workstations and 80% of Intel-based servers, he said.
“From a developer stand point this is a huge opportunity. Traditionally, new technologies have come into the market very slowly, so applications have been written to the lowest common denominator,” said Otellini. Intel’s huge capacity meant that it could roll the technology into its products almost immediately.
Otellini also hinted that the current Pentium 4 micro-architecture would be superceded as early as next year, to be replaced by an as-yet unnamed micro-architecture that will incorporate a new security technology called LaGrande.
This is the first time that the company has integrated security into the PC architecture at the silicon level, making it considerably more difficult for hackers to crack. LaGrande will also integrate with Microsoft’s Palladium security initiative and the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TrustedPC) specification at a higher level of the PC architecture.
While details are currently sketchy, Otellini said that LaGrande would enable microprocessor-level encryption and “protected execution” of applications. “It will be delivered through processors and [motherboard] chip-sets to create a secure operating environment,” said Otellini.