Behold the Pentium-M 'Dothan' (Part I)
Originally, the launch date of this successor to the 'Banias' Pentium-M was set at 4th February 2004. However, due to unforeseen circuitry problems in late January this year, Intel had no other choice but to delay the official launch date to this day. This circuitry problem as we understand has more to do with the ability to manufacture this new processor in quantities (aka ramping) rather than affecting the all-important processing capability of the 'Dothan'.
Intel Pentium-M 'Dothan' processor.
The 'Dothan' happens to be the first mobile processor from Intel to be manufactured under the 90nm process while using strained silicon technology - basically the same process for Intel Pentium 4 'Prescott' processors. Under this manufacturing process, each transistor (there are 140 million of them in 'Dothan') is just 90nm in size (50nm gate length). To put this diminutive size in perspective, imagine looking at the width of a single strand of hair. That tiny area that you can barely make out can accommodate a thousand of these transistors! Sure makes you wonder how this engineering feat is accomplished, right? Well, if you're in the mood for a detailed read up, do check out our article on Intel Pentium 4 'Prescott'
where you'll find everything you need to know about this complex manufacturing process and we can assure you that it will greatly assist you in the understanding of this technological accomplishment.
The new 90nm Pentium-M processor will be manufactured on 300mm silicon wafers.
The forces behind this push towards the newer and smaller 90nm manufacturing process and on 300mm wafer are costs and yields. A 300mm wafer has an increased yield that ranges from 2.25x 2.5x more than a 200mm wafer. Output from the larger 300mm fab is a good 1.6x 2.2x more than that of a 200mm fab, and since the cost involved for both types of wafer fabrication process were more or less the same (we're not talking about equipment costs here), it only makes perfect economical sense to take the route of the 300mm wafer.