Core, Nehalem, Gesher

Intel: New Architecture Every Two Years

by Aleksey Razin
04/28/2006 | 04:32 PM

In continuation to our previous news reports we would like to make a few comments about Intel’s strategy concerning the introduction of new processors and architectures. As you already know, Core (Conroe) architecture will live as is at least until 2008. Then a new architecture will come to replace it, and although its name has been kept secret ever since, we knew it would be a 0.045micron process.


So, Intel’s chief executives admitted to their shareholders that they would from now on introduce new processor architecture every two years. Of course, the innovations we are talking about here will not be as revolutionary as the changes that we all witness during the transition from NetBurst to Core. However, they promised to have a good reason to use the “new architecture” expression in 2008 already. All platforms released after Core will have one thing in common: they will maintain optimal balance between performance and power consumption.

The slide shows that 2008 will bring us Nehalem platform, which name comes from Intel’s earlier developments that have never really come out. In other words, it will be a completely different Nehalem than the one they were planning a few years ago :) The platform to come out in 2010 will be called Gesher. The processors developed within this platform concept will be manufactured with finer 0.032micron technological process.

The next slide explains Intel’s priorities in the platforms development. First of all, there will be unified architecture for all three major market segments: desktop, mobile and server. This way they can reduce the R&D costs and take less time to design new processors. A great example of this unified architecture is Intel Core that is coming out this summer.

To speed up the development of new platforms, Intel will combine the efforts of several engineering teams working in parallel. Moreover, the new architecture will not be tied up to the introduction schedule for the finer production technologies. They will use modified processors based on the previous-generation architecture to run in the new production norms. Once the new production technology has been polished off enough, they will begin the transition for the new processors. In fact, this evolution plan is already working:

We hope that this plan will help Intel reduce the time it usually takes them to prepare for the new product launch. It would be real great if the chipsets could remain compatible with at least one more generation of processors before phasing out. This way you won’t need to replace the mainboard every year when you upgrade your CPU: once every two years will do just fine.

By the way, our colleagues from The Inquirer site have also mentioned the name of the next CPU to come out after the desktop quad-core Kentsfield. This will be a 0.045micron Bloomsfield processor. It will have single-die design, i.e. all four cores and 8MB of cache memory will be pout into a single piece of silicon. The predecessor, Kentsfield processor, will consist of two halves, each of them being an analog to Conroe processor with 4MB L2 cache. Bloomsfield processor will features a shared L2 cache, and each core will be able to access the data stored there.