Intel Announces New "Sextium" ProcessorReview date: 1 April 1999. Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
April 1, 1999 00:01 AM, Santa Clara, California:
Processor giant Intel has startled the information technology industry by taking the wraps off the next generation of x86-compatible PC Central Processing Units (CPUs) unexpectedly early. The new processors will be dubbed the Sextium series.
Industry observers have for some time now wondered why Intel persisted with
the Pentium name for processors considerably more advanced than the original
Pentium. The Pentium Pro, Pentium II and now the Pentium III have all been
released, leading many pundits to speculate that it was high time the Sextium
name was used.
"In retrospect, I don't know why we didn't call the P-Pro the Sextium," said Intel CEO Andy Grove in an interview with Dan's Data. "I mean, it's not like it means something rude in Spanish, or something." Upon being asked whether this was a reference to Intel's disastrous decision to release the original Pentium in Hispanic countries as the Putanum, Mr Grove declined to comment.
An Intel source who asked to remain anonymous spoke to us after Mr Grove had left, and explained that Intel had originally intended the new processor to be called the Hextium, but "that was a bit too obvious, know what I mean?"
We do not know what he meant.
The new Sextium part is scheduled to debut in Q2 of 2000, with distribution anticipated to commence exactly one year from the April 1st product announcement. The initial clock speed will be only 666MHz (Front Side Bus 133MHz, 5X multiplier), as Intel has reported mysterious problems achieving higher speeds with the new component. Craig Johnson, strategic planner for Intel's 32-bit product, commented on these difficulties as follows: "It's really not a problem. 666 megahertz is a very good speed. Very good indeed. Yes. Good." His eyes then glazed over and he walked slowly away, apparently oblivious to our further questions.
Pricing of the new processor for 1000 unit orders is expected to be an unprecedented $US10,000, although Intel have hinted at an as yet unexplained alternative payment program in which end users are apparently required to sign a special contract, and will receive in return a 666MHz Sextium processor, as well, confusingly, as what is described as "all their worldly desires".
Ron Peck, Intel's director of Value PC Marketing, described this special deal as "Marvellous value for the small office and home user, or indeed for corporate users or, well, pretty much anyone, really." When pressed for details of the special contract, Peck said: "It's a simple arrangement, a... covenant, if you will... between the chip purchasers and a greater... power." When asked if the "greater power" he referred to was Intel, he replied "Of course. Yes. Ha ha ha! What did you think I meant! Ha ha! The interview's over! Go away!"
A sample of the special contract was not available at the time of going to press; according to an Intel spokesperson, the company is "experiencing some minor issues related to the acquisition of the correct kind of parchment."
The Sextium's revolutionary new processor package approaches the size of the conventional Pentium II or III cartridge, but fits into a 514 pin ZIF socket instead of the PII/III edge connector. None of these "Socket 514" motherboards are currently available, but Intel and other manufacturers promise to have them available in time for the release of the Sextium. Representatives of leading motherboard manufacturers Abit, AOpen, Chaintech, Diamond, Shuttle, Supermicro and Tyan said in a statement earlier today: "We are strongly committed to supporting this exciting new processor. Let there be no doubt about our loyalty. No doubt at all. We will not fail you, lord Intel."
John Miner, vice president and general manager of Intel's Enterprise Server division, explained that a Xeon version of the new CPU will be available, for server applications. "It'll basically fill the same market niche as the current Pentium II and Pentium III Xeons, but the name will be different." When asked what the name of the new Xeon-class processor would be, Miner explained: "It's kind of impossible for humans to pronounce. It still starts with an X, though." He went on to say that Intel anticipated strong sales of this "Processor that Must Not Be Named" at corporations such as Procter and Gamble, Lucent and Microsoft, as well as numerous purchases by "a significant market segment, those guys who build twin Xeon machines and then run Windows 95 on them." Miner later described this segment of the Xeon market as "about as sharp as a sack full of wet toilet rolls".
Robert Jecman, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile and handheld products group, has also promised a mobile version of the Sextium. "It'll be mobile all right. Everybody'll be using them. They'll practically - ha, ha - practically be a part of you!" He then pointed at his hand and grinned.
A spokesperson for Pope John Paul II has released a statement on the new processor which makes reference to it being "exactly what we've been warning you about all this time," and goes on to say "That's it. You're on your own. Go on, go and play Quake 3! Go on, do it! See if we care!"
Representatives of other ecclesiastical orders were not available for comment. Dan's Data has received unconfirmed reports of senior clergy purchasing canned food and shotguns.