In the Forums...
Posted: July 30, 2001
Written by: Tuan Huynh
Today marks the introduction of Intel’s Pentium 3 1.2 GHz “Tualatin” as well as Intel’s 2nd revamping of the Pentium 3 since its introduction in 1998.
It was only around this time last year Intel desperately tried to beat AMD at the MHz war by releasing the Pentium 3 1.13GHz processor based on the Coppermine core. Unfortunately for Intel it was a disaster and ended up in Intel pulling the Pentium 3 1.13 GHz off the market. It took Intel about a month to finally admit the problems Dr. Tom at Toms Hardware and Kyle Bennet from [H]ardOCP experienced was due to a bug in the processor and not a problem with the microcode.
Almost exactly one year later Intel makes another attempt at taking the Pentium 3 processor up to speeds past 1 GHz. This time instead of just bumping the speed up higher, Intel has tweaked the Pentium 3 processor slightly. The difference between the Tualatin and Coppermine is more than clock speed alone and lies on the manufacturing process.
While the Coppermine was manufactured using a 0.18-micron fabrication process, the Tualatin introduces a first time ever 0.13-micron fabrication process. The Tualatin is Intel’s test mule for using the 0.13-micron process before the P4 Northwood goes into full production to make sure everything goes well. Utilizing the 0.13-micron process, the Tualatin is able to achieve higher clock speeds while using lower voltage compared to its Coppermine counterpart.
Let’s compare the differences between the 2 processors.
Not Just a Speed Increase...
Looking at the chart, the first difference you’ll most likely notice is the die shrink from 0.18 to 0.13 micron like I’ve mentioned above. Shrinking the die allows the Tualatin to use lower voltage than the Coppermine. The Tualatin using only 1.45v will be able to run much cooler than a Coppermine running at the same clock speed.