Intel to Start Volume Production of 45nm Chips in 45 Days

Intel to Begin Penryn Production in Late October

by Anton Shilov
09/11/2007 | 11:14 PM

Intel Corp. said on Tuesday that it would start production of its new central processing units (CPUs) using new 45nm process technology in late October, less than two months from now. Following the formal opening, the world’s largest chipmaker will unveil new and faster processors in mid-November, a move expected to rise performance bar of computing.

 

“In 45 days, a new building called ‘Fab 32’ tucked into a sleepy corner of Arizona will come to life. Inside this building a new type of device will be made in incredible numbers,” said Nick Knupffer, a spokesman for Intel wrote in the company’s corporate blog.

Earlier Intel started making its central processing units using 45nm process tech at its development D1D fab in Oregon, however, the development fab cannot manufacture products in high-volume, which is required for mass products.

Intel’s 45nm fabrication process is an innovative production technology that features new Hafnium material with a property called high-k for the transistor gate dielectric, and a new combination of metal materials for the transistor gate electrode. The combination of thinner process technology along with new materials is projected to reduce transistor leakage and increases their performance.

The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker is projected to ship its first server and high-performance desktop/workstation microprocessors made using 45nm process technology for revenue this year and even formally unveil it late in 2007 too. Potentially, the new 45nm central processing units represent a threat for the new breed of chips from Advanced Micro Devices, who is known for relatively slow volume ramps of its innovative chips.

Intel announced in March that the new “Penryn” family 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.