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Intel Corp. on Monday said that the first prototypes of microprocessors using 45nm process technology have been produced. The announcement once again illustrates Intel’s very aggressive process technology transition roadmap and proves that Intel Corp. has delivered on its promise to tape out its first 45nm chip this quarter.

“We are processing the first samples of the Penryn design. These samples will go back to the design team to determine if design is working as expected,” Mark Bohr, director of process architecture and integration at Intel, is reported to have said in an interview with Reuters news-agency.

Intel’s sampling of the code-named Penryn processor at 45nm fabrication process occurs amid the company’s arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices still have not announced a single processor made using 65nm fabrication process, which is used to manufacture the majority of Intel’s central processing units (CPUs) these days. According to the director of Intel, the company is on-track to produce Penryn in volumes and ship them to customers in the second half of 2007.

No official details concerning the Penryn chip design were announced this time, however, according to previously published news-stories, the chip code-named Penryn is a 45nm incarnation of the dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo processor for mobile computers (code-named Merom) with SSE4 technology that, Intel promises, is set to benefit a variety of applications, including those involving graphics, video encoding and processing, 3D imaging, gaming, web servers and application servers. It is unclear what kind of advantages besides the SSE4 the new chips will have over the current Intel Core 2 Duo product family. Typically, thinner manufacturing process may allow Intel to crank up clock-speed of the chips, enlarge its cache sizes, reduce power consumption and make them cheaper to make.

Intel announced in mid-October that that it has fifteen microprocessor designs set to be manufactured using 45nm process technology, including such products like Bloomfield, Yorkfied and Wolfdale.

AMD is expected to ship its first processors made using 65nm fabrication process shortly and be on the market with 45nm process technology by mid-2008, still, several quarters behind Intel, but not a year, as in the case of 65nm production technology.

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