Intel set to launch 2.2GHz Pentium 4

Intel Corp. will launch its 2.2GHz Pentium 4 microprocessor on Monday, according to sources familiar with the chip maker’s plans.

The 2.2GHz chip, Intel’s fastest to date, made its debut appearance in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district last week.

The chip will be Intel’s first based on the company’s 0.13-micron Northwood core, which features 512 K bytes of Level 2 cache, compared to current 0.18-micron Pentium 4 processors that offer only 256K bytes of cache. The 0.13-micron manufacturing process allows Intel to pack components more tightly on a chip, which can boost speed and lower cost, as well as reduce heat and power consumption.

“Larger cache does provide an important performance benefit,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64, in Saratoga, Calif. “It’s more than the increase you would get going from 2GHz to 2.2GHz (with the smaller cache).”

Pentium 4 chips using the Northwood core will also run at 1.5 volts, compared to 1.75 volts for current Pentium 4 processors. Lowering the voltage lets the chips run cooler, which will become more important as Intel further increases the frequency speed of future Pentium 4 chips.

Intel launched the 2GHz Pentium 4 in August.

Intel spokesman George Alfs Wednesday confirmed the 2.2GHz Pentium 4 will be launched in January, but would not comment further.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is at