The Inquirer writes that during the IDF opening today Louis Burns from Intel demonstrated a video showing a mysterious new desktop CPU. According to Intel this new processor will be targeted at high-end gamers and computing power users.
They were not demonstrating the Prescott, but something unheard-of, the Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.20GHz! This appears to be a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 with an additional 2MB L3 cache memory. The Inquirer thinks that these Extreme Editions will be repacked Intel XeonMP processors with a Socket 478 housing instead of a Socket 603.
As a matter of fact, 2MB cache will help a lot those users whose apps (including games and such) have a lot of big cache-friendly pieces of code and data, but probably not the data-streaming intensive stuff. I do expect to see speedups anywhere from 2% to 20% depending on the application, maybe some more if using multithreading/multitasking (large cache can keep in code / date pieces from more threads).
However, this doesn't seem to be a new CPU in reality - after all, Intel is doing very well with its XeonMP 2.8 GHz 2 MB cache CPU, and how much effort does it really take to repackage it for the 3.2 GHz / 800 FSB desktop with less stringent thermal and reliability requirements than the big iron, anyway?
Intel would gain a lot with this move. If, touch wood, there are problems with Prescott, a large-cache Pentium4 part will provide some buffer against large-cache Athlon64 (i.e. rebadged Opteron) parts. At the same time, enormous extra benefits from the economies of scale would further reduce the identical die XeonMP manufacturing cost, helping Intel compete better on the quad-CPU server front as well. Interesting move? I think so. Let's see how the beast performs in real!
There is nothing known about price and release dates, but these chips will not be cheap. Probably above $700 because the normal Pentium 3.2GHz costs around $650.