Intel Corp., the world’s largest computer chip maker, has unveiled details of a new lineup of processors slated for production later this year that promise a performance boost and energy savings because of the transition to a new manufacturing technology, the 45-nanometre technology.
Intel on 28 March disclosed it was on track or even ahead of schedule in developing a new generation of chips that would achieve a significant increase in performance without consuming more power.The next-generation chip design, is scheduled to go into production in 2008, that the company claims will deliver “enormous” performance and energy gains.
The Santa Clara-based company has spent heavily to equip its factories to produce chips on 45-nanometre technology, which shrinks the circuitry’s width to 45 billionths of a metre, a scale at which 2,000 transistors will fit in the width of a human hair.
The resulting chips will have as many as 820 million transistors, making it possible for Intel’s designers to add parallel computing, energy management and graphics to the computing engines that are the mainstay of its business.So, they will boast higher performance than previous generations of chips partly because more transistors can be squeezed onto a single slice of silicon.
Intel plans to introduce six different types of processors, including processors with four computing cores boasting 820 million total transistors. They are also using new materials in the transistors that prevent electric current from leaking out, which in turn extends the battery life in laptops.
The new processor families -- Penryn, arriving this year, and Nehalam, due next year -- will in some cases help Intel catch up technically with its archrival Advanced Micro Devices and in other areas will consolidate performance categories where Intel already leads.
Intel’s plans include integrating onto the processor a feature called a memory controller that the company has historically placed on a separate chip, but rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has long used it on the same piece of silicon to access data on external memory chips.
Intel is in the midst of a major overhaul of its business strategy after losing ground to AMD during the last two years. The company’s executives have acknowledged that Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, had been late to respond to challenges in energy efficiency and parallel computing and was racing to catch up.
The technology will in principle allow Intel to create ultralow-power chips, but the company said it was first seeking to increase the speed of its processors without consuming more power than current chips.