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Intel Corp. will formally unveil its first 45nm processors for desktops and notebooks early next year, some sources familiar with the product roadmap of the world’s largest chipmaker have indicated. Production shipments of the chips will start late this year, hence, Intel Core 2 processors with improved performance will become available immediately following formal launch.

Even though Intel Corp.’s vice president Kirk Skaugen promised early this year that the first Intel Xeon processors produced using 45nm fabrication process will be available in H2 2007, desktop – Intel Core 2 Duo code-named Wolfdale and Intel Core 2 Quad code-named Yorkfield – processors as well as mobile – code-named Penryn – chips made using the same production technology will only be launched in Q1 2008, according to Intel’s roadmap.

Earlier Intel promised to be “on track for production” of Penryn family processors in the second half of the year, but never released schedules concerning availability timeframes of desktop and mobile chips made using 45nm process technology. Intel officials did not immediately respond on enquiry seeking for comments.

Intel announced in March that the new “Penryn” chips produced using 45nm process technology will have greater instructions per clock (IPC) execution, which means that they will be faster and more efficient even at the same clock-speeds with the current generation chips. Besides, the new chips will be able to run at higher clock-speeds compared to today’s Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad products.

The major micro-architectural improvements for new Intel Core 2 processors, besides SSE4 instruction set, include the so-called Unique Super Shuffle Engine and Radix 16 technique. The Super Shuffle Engine is a full-width, single-pass shuffle unit that is 128-bits wide, which can perform full-width shuffles in a single cycle. This significantly improves performance for SSE2, SSE3 and SSE4 instructions that have shuffle-like operations such as pack, unpack and wider packed shifts. This feature will increase performance for content creation, imaging, video and high-performance computing. Radix 16 technique, according to Intel, roughly doubles the divider speed over previous generations for computations used in nearly all applications. In addition, Intel also improved virtualization technology as well as added some features to dynamic acceleration technology, which is supposed to boost single-threaded applications’ performance on multi-core chips.

Each of Intel’s dual-core Penryn chips will have 410 million transistors, up significantly from 291 million of current dual-core Conroe processors, however, thanks to 45nm process technology, the chips will have die size of 107 square millimeters, down about 25% from 155 square millimeters of the Conroe.

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