Intel Corp. will present a paper at a closely watched technical conference next month in which the company will describe how it can achieve a clock speed of 1GHz from a Pentium III processor running at room temperature.
Intel has demonstrated a 1GHz processor in the past using special cooling equipment. Producing a chip that can operate at that speed in real-world conditions will allow Intel to sell the part commercially for use in desktop PCs.
Clock speed is only one measure of a chip's performance, but along with price it is the main feature consumers look at when they choose a PC, experts have said. For that reason, Intel and arch-rival AMD are keen to be first out the trap with a 1GHz chip. Both companies have promised to reach the milestone before the end of the year, and both currently offer processors that top out at 800MHz.
The processor Intel will describe next month, at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, will be a Pentium III manufactured with its advanced 0.18-micron process. Such chips were formerly codenamed Coppermine.
Figuring a way to make a processor that runs at 1GHz at room temperature is only part of the battle, noted Keith Diefendorff, a senior analyst with research and publishing firm MicroDesign Resources in Sunnyvale, California.
"Anyone who manufactures an 800MHz chip probably has a few in their lab that run at 1GHz. The challenge is whether you can manufacture enough to make it a commercial product," Diefendorff said.