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Intel has decided not to bring to market a 4-GHz single-core Pentium 4 after all, following a July decision to push the chip out to the first quarter of 2005.

As Intel executives explained previously, the decision is based on the company’s desire to accelerate the ramp of its various microprocessor technologies, including Vanderpool, its virtualization technology. The company was “shifting” resources away from single-core development and manufacturing to the dual-core and technology teams, a company representative said at the time.

As a form of compensation, Intel Corp. will offer the “Extreme Edition” of its current Pentium 4 line across all speed grades beginning next year, officials said Thursday. The P4EE contains 2MB of cache in order to improve the processor’s performance.

Intel has been vague about when its new processor technologies will appear in hardware. Click here to read more.

The decision once again shakes up Intel’s roadmap, however. In July, company representatives said Intel was taking a “top-to-bottom” look at the company’s roadmap, “making sure volume aligns with customer demand,” spokesman Bill Kircos said then. At the recent IDF (Intel Developer Forum) show, Intel executives introduced their dual-core part and discussed their various platform technologies.

“This is in-line with our dual-core focus and starts, as well as our platformization message,” Intel spokesman George Alfs said, referring to the various microprocessor technologies. “We’re really serious on the platformization.”

“It’s a symbolically tough decision because of the magic ‘four’ number,” Alfs acknowledged.

He declined to say whether Intel would actually produce a 4-GHz single-core product—as part of the current Pentium 4 “Prescott” design or at all. The relentless pace of speed advances has meant that faster processor speeds are inevitable. Alfs did not say whether the company thinks there is some speed ceiling that the current design could not exceed, or whether Intel is simply pushing out the 4-GHz part to some point beyond its public roadmap.

“I’m not going to get into the roadmap of what the future holds,” Alfs said. “For the short term, we’re aligned on another product.”

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