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Pentium IV unveiled at Intel forum

Nick Huber and Eric Doyle
Intel revealed technical details of its Pentium IV (Willamette) 32-bit processor at its Developers Forum (IDF) in California, but it has yet to announce a release date or price.

Running at 1.4GHz, the Pentium 4 is expected to put Intel back ahead of AMD in the processor speed battle. The inclusion of 144 extra multimedia instructions within the Netburst sub-architecture will further enhance Intel's speed advantage.

Netburst offers on-chip support for 3D graphics and sound but also supports tasks such as data encryption and streaming video. The technology will improve Internet download speeds and performance even over a standard 56kbps modem. It will also support Voice over IP and improve video editing capabilities.

The chip features a hyper-pipelined design, which has 20 stages, compared to the Pentium III's 12-stage pipelining. This is aimed at improving the efficiency of the chip's cache storage and will increase its multitasking capabilities.

Background applications should benefit from the increased cache, and services such as virus detection and elimination will be able to execute with very little impact on performance.


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