Even though Intel Corp. unveiled its first quad-core microprocessor almost a year ahead of Advanced Micro Devices, the latter can still boast with the first ever “native” x86 central processing unit when it rolls out its code-named Barcelona processor on the 10th of September. But Intel claims that while it did not “make sense” to make single-die quad-core chip in 2006, it will be able to roll it out in 2008.
Currently available quad-core Intel Core 2 and Xeon chips integrate two dual-core chips on one piece of substrate, which gives the manufacturer additional flexibility in terms of manufacturing, but requires the processing engines to communicate using processor system bus, not the most efficient communication path, which, AMD believes, reduces performance.
“At 65nm the die would be too big to hold four [Intel] cores and it would be so expensive it would not make sense. Our 45nm process technology will allow us to do a monolithic quad-core design,” said Diane M. Bryant, Intel’s vice president of digital enterprise group and general manager of server platforms group, in an interview with EETimes web-site.
In 2008 Intel is projected to roll-out microprocessors based on the next-generation Nehalem micro-architecture. It is expected that the chips will have built-in memory controllers and will require new platforms. Considering the integrated memory controller and some other design aspects, it is highly likely that Intel will have to create a monolithic implementation of its quad-core. However, it is doubtful that built-in memory controllers will allow Intel to easily create octa-core chip.
Ms. Bryant did not unveil any other peculiarities of Intel’s single-die quad-core products.