updated 10:25 am EDT, Mon April 16, 2007
Intel Penryn Mobile CPUs
Intel kicked off its Developer Forum this morning by discussing its upcoming 45-nanometer Core 2 Duo mobile processors. Based on the Penryn architecture due late this year, the smaller manufacturing process allows for processors that run cooler, faster, and for longer than today's 65nm chips. The design will also bring SSE4 vector extensions for better media performance as well as improved power-saving technology. Despite the collection of advancements, however, Microsoft says the technology is in such an advanced state that its dual-core version of the chip was demonstrated today in a working notebook.
"The product is pretty healthy," said Intel's mobile product manager Mooly Eden.
While exact clock speeds weren't revealed, the semiconductor maker indicates that the future processor will be a drop-in replacement for the 65nm Santa Rosa processors and platform to be released next month. The imminent release runs on a faster 800MHz bus and allows for such features as Dynamic Acceleration, which can deliberately overclock one core when another is shut down and improve performance for single-threaded programs. It will include some of the first mobile processors to unlocked for overclocking by experienced gamers.
Intel also used its conference to reveal early details about a quad-core version of its mobile Penryn chip, which should become the first of its kind in the industry. The new processor will be targeted at the highest-end market of desktop replacement gaming and workstation notebooks where battery life is a secondary concern. While the CPU is likely to be a 'true' quad-core system which doesn't simply merge two dual-core designs and would thus be faster than today's Xeon 5300 and Core 2 Quad models, the company doesn't expect widespread use immediately after the quad Penryn's debut in 2008.
"You'll see it at the high-end," said Eden. "But I don't see it running so fast into the mainstream because I don't believe there will be enough threaded applications that will justify the tradeoffs."
Specific enhancements to the four-core version are unknown and will likely depend on particular notebook case designs and cooling techniques, the company notes.