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Micro-Architecture

Intel's Platform Approach

Intel is constantly monitoring the market segments in order to identify user needed features for the given markets and then incorporate them in a complete platform solution.

The platform approach is very efficient. There is also low cost associated with it. Besides, the platform approach makes job for software developers a lot easier. The software Intel uses and the nature of the architectural compatibility is really available to you as you design new devices. So, you can have high predictability on your development around Intel development.

Now let’s talk about a few new solutions that will become the basis for the new platforms aimed at satisfying the demand for certain features in given market segments.

Penryn

It is based on the same Core 2 micro-architecture shipping today. It is going to be a large quad-core configuration, featuring 410 million transistor dies. Penryn will launch officially on November 12, 2007. Intel is very excited about customer adoption of this technology. And they are already in production of 45nm and Penryn today getting ready for the November 12 launch. However, they feel that it is not just silicon technology that has to be pushed into the envelope. It is also packaging technology. The CPUs should be about 60% smaller, and as a result it will also drive lower cost. Smaller is better, smaller is cheaper.

But small and inexpensive are not the only advantages from innovating into the packaging technology. They are also focusing on building cleaner products. EarlierIntel announced that their products were 100% lead free. Today they are also announcing that all Intel products will be halogen free by the end of 2008. As a result Intel is going to be even friendlier for the environment.

Nehalem

Intel is going to announce 45nm Nehalem next year. It is a very dynamic design from numerous prospectives. We can change the configuration of core, cache, IO to be able to meet the needs of diverse segments. From the developer standpoint it is also dynamic. You can configure real time needs of the system by turning threads on and off and optimizing the performance for the given task. The largest configuration will be an 8-core die supporting 16 threads.

Nehalem design is already complete. This is the first wafer that was complete about a month ago. Each die has about 731million transistors.

Intel wanted to build the highest performance core that would be used in all types of platforms from laptops all the way to high-performance servers. Nehalem is exactly the core like that. It is designed to be a basis for scalable multi-core systems. Besides, Intel also paid special attention to improving single-threaded performance of Nehalem, so that it could be fit for even more applications. So, it will be available in wide range of systems and configurations.

Nehalem has several new important capabilities: high performance integrated DRAM controller that provides very low latency DRAM and scalable bandwidth for memory intensive applications. It also provides simultaneous multi-threading that is very power efficient.

Nehalem also acquired Quick Path interconnect that allows building multi-socket systems linked together.

Now that we talked about the new microprocessors – Penryn and Nehalem, that will be part of the new systems, let’s talk about the chipset platforms.

Intel talked a lot about platforms in the past.

They introduced in Q3 2006 VPro for desktops, then they launched Centrino Pro for mobile. So far Intel shipped 5M units and this number is going to grow higher thanks to broad OEM support, as all OEMs are now shipping Pro versions.

 
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