updated 09:25 am EST, Mon January 29, 2007
New Intel chip technology
Intel has introduced new chip technology that it claims could increase computing performance as well as reduce power consumption and said the technology that could make its way into Macs as early as the end of 2007. The world's biggest chip manufacturer said that it is using two "dramatically new" materials to build its next-generation 45 nanometer (nm) transistors, which will be used in the next versions of the the company's Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Xeon families of multi-core processors. It also said it has five early-version products up and running -- the first of fifteen 45nm processor products expected from Intel. Codenamed "Penryn," the early versions of the technology are targeted at five different computer market segments, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems and the company said it remains on track to deliver to shipments of its first 45nm products in the second half of this year.
Calling it one of the biggest advancements in fundamental transistor design, Intel said that the breakthrough would allow it to continue to deliver faster processors in accordance with Moore's law, an industry axiom that that describes the continued increase of computing performance as transistor counts double.
Leveraging an innovative combination of new materials that reduces transistor leakage and increases performance in its 45nm process technology, the company promised that record-breaking PC, laptop and server processor speeds, while reducing the amount of electrical leakage from transistors that can hamper chip and PC design, size, power consumption, noise and costs.
Penryn 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, Intel said. Transistors are tiny switches in processors that perform much of the computing power.
"The implementation of high-k and metal materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicon gate MOS transistors in the late 1960s," said Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore.
The Penryn family of processors wil be a derivative of the Intel Core microarchitecture and marks the next step in Intel's commitment to delivering a new process technology and new microarchitecture every other year. The company has more than 15 products based on 45nm in development across desktop, mobile, workstation and enterprise segments.
Showcasing a new microarchitecture, Penryn processors will feature more than 400 million transistors in dual-core processors and more than 800 million for quad-core processors. Intel also promised higher core speeds and up to 12MB of cache for further performance enhancements to the new generation of chips. Intel also said that the Penryn family designs also bring approximately 50 new Intel SSE4 instructions that expand capabilities and performance for media and high-performance computing applications.