With 6 Mbytes of cache and a clock speed jump of 50% to 1.5 GHz, Intel's latest Itanium2 processor (Madison) delivers 30% to 50% more throughput than the current version (McKinley). Described at last month's International Solid State Circuits Conference, the CPU was fabricated using 130-nm design rules and uses a 1.3-V supply so it can stay within the 130-W power envelope established for the Itanium CPUs. Because it will have the same pinout and 400-MHz front-side bus as the previous CPU, designers can quickly upgrade CPU boards to use the latest processors. Intel plans to offer several versions of the Itanium2 CPU. Versions will differ in the amount of on-chip cache and clock speed. Cache options will include 3, 4, or 6 Mbytes. Future plans call for a larger cache—9 Mbytes—in 2004 (Deerfield CPU), which will raise the transistor count on the CPU to over 500 million devices. Planned for release in 2005, the Montecito processor will contain two full CPUs, each with its own level 3 cache, and a bus arbiter. For more, go to www.intel.com.