SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Intel Corp. is taking the gloves off and preparing a three-prong attack against its archrival in the microprocessor space--Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
In the first move, Intel is expected to roll out its initial 90-nm desktop microprocessors on Feb. 2--at prices below 64-bit processors from AMD.
Intel is also preparing to cut the prices of its current Pentium 4-based chips by up to 33 percent. And not to be outdone, the chip giant is readying an X86-based, 64-bit processor line in a move to better compete against AMD's own 64-bit chip line.
The products are aimed directly at AMD, which is scrambling to keep up with Intel in the processor and process technology race, according to analysts.
Meanwhile, on the 90-nm front, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant is expected to roll out four 90-nm desktop processors on Feb. 2. Codenamed Prescott, the chips run at speeds of 3-, 3.2- and 3.4-GHz, according to a new report from Pacific Crest Securities Inc., an investment banking firm in Portland.
Intel's Prescott line of processors, which have been expected for some time, incorporate a 800-MHz front-side bus, according to the report. The entry-level, 3-GHz processor comes with 1-MB of cache and sells for $221, according to the report.
The 3.2-GHz chip comes with 1-MB of cache and sells for $279. It will also offer a pair of 3.4-GHz chips, both of which will sell for $414. One chip has 512-KB of cache while the other has 1-MB.
With Prescott, Intel claims to have several cost advantages over AMD. The chip giant not only will make the Prescott line of processors on 300-mm wafers, but the chips have a die size of 110-sq.-mm--or roughly 30 percent less space than AMD's 130-nm parts, according to the report.
This puts "AMD at an enormous cost disadvantage heading into Q2, with little relief until volume shipments of 90-nm Athlon 64 commence in Q3," according to the report.
What's more, the new Prescotts appear to be less expensive than comparable chips from AMD. And in another effort to attack its rival, Intel plans to cut the prices of its current Pentium 4 chips by 15-to-33 percent, the report said.
And this week, Intel officials have acknowledged the existence of a 64-bit x86-based processor line. As reported, Intel will soon unveil a 64-bit processor, which runs x86-based instructions in the native mode, according to a recent report from American Technology Research Inc. The processor could see a possible introduction in mid-2004, with volume delivery in 2005, according to the report from the research firm.
Intel currently offers a 64-bit processor line, dubbed Itanium, which runs x86-based instructions in emulation mode. Some believe the x86-based 64-bit chip is the coming of the so-called "Yamhill' processor--a product that runs both 32- and 64-bit instruction sets. The reported product from Intel is also similar to the 32/64-bit processor line from AMD (see December 15, 2002 story).