by Anton Shilov
11/12/2007 | 02:29 PM
Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of x86 microprocessors, on Monday officially revealed the industry’s first lineup of central processing units (CPUs) made using 45nm process technology. The new processors feature enhanced performance and also are cheaper to manufacture, something, which increases competing advantages for Intel and further increases pressure on Advanced Micro Devices.
Intel is the first chipmaker to implement an innovative combination of new materials that reduces transistor leakage and increases performance in its 45nm process technology. The company will use a new 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 first processors to utilize the new process technology are code-named Penryn, Wolfdale and Yorkfield. The first one is aimed at mobile computers and will be officially unveiled early next year, whereas Wolfdale and Yorkfield are dual-core and quad-core, which power Intel Core 2 Duo/Extreme or Intel Xeon chips, are aimed at desktops or servers and are unveiled today. The new microprocessors feature improved performance per watt characteristics and also make chips available at a lower price.
“The intellects, physics and designs that went into solving one of the industry’s most daunting challenges are awe-inspiring and I congratulate the Intel teams for this breakthrough achievement. Best yet, this feat, coupled with our industry-leading architectures, means faster and sleeker computers, longer battery life and better energy efficiency. Our objective is to bring consumers a new class of computers delivering a full Internet experience in ever-smaller, more portable form factors,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and chief executive.
The new Intel Xeon processors 5400-series processors feature up to 1600MHz quad-pumped bus, four processing engine, 12MB of level two cache and up to 3.40GHz clock-speed. The highest-performance quad-core Intel Xeon X5482 chip that operates at 3.20GHz and has 12MB of secondary-level cache also features 150W thermal design power (TDP), power consumption and dissipation that was earlier unprecedented for chips based on Intel Core 2 micro-architecture.
Pricing of the 45nm high-k Intel Xeon processors depends on the model, speeds, features and amount ordered, and ranges from $177 to $1279 in quantities of 1000. The 45nm high-k Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor is priced at $999 in quantities of 1000. Depending on the model, these processors are available today or within 45 days. The lineup of new 45nm chips looks as follows:
Intel announced in March that the new lineup of 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.