Intel will upgrade its flagship PC chip in the beginning of the year, but it will keep the current name.
"Prescott," the code name for an optimized version of the Pentium 4, will continue to be sold under the Pentium 4 name, according to sources close to the company. Prescott chips will contain 13 new instructions to improve multimedia performance and run at higher speeds than existing Pentium 4s. In the past, Intel has used the introduction of new instructions to come out with a new processor name. The Pentium III, which came out in 1999, contained 70 new instructions but was otherwise nearly identical to the Pentium II when it launched.
Later, Intel changed the Pentium III package and integrated the cache, a reservoir of memory for rapid data access, into the same silicon as the processor. "It is always a fine line, but I think they will promote Hyper-Threading more," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight 64. Hyper-Threading allows a chip to do more tasks simultaneously. It made its debut on servers and workstations but came to desktops a little over a year ago. "If they called it Pentium 5, they would have to tell people why it's better than a Pentium 4." Keeping the name also helps Intel avoid a marketing muddle with the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. This chip, which was added to the company's product road map this summer, comes with 2MB of cache. Current Pentium 4s have a 512KB cache and Prescott will have a 1MB cache.
News source: C|Net News.com