Summary: Today Intel disclosed more info than ever about their upcoming next-generation CPUs after Core 2. Read all the details in this article!
With Q1í07 winding down, today Intelís Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intelís Digital Enterprise Group, held a briefing with press disclosing more info about Intelís upcoming next-generation processors than ever before. Weíve summarized the highlights of the briefing in this quick article.
Intelís Penryn family of Core 2 CPUs
As you no doubt know by now, Penryn is the codename for Intelís upcoming successor to todayís Core 2 CPUs. Penryn represents a wide family of products, ranging from mobile processing to replacing todayís Conroe-based and Kentsfield-based Core 2 CPUs on the desktop. Penryn CPUs are based on Intelís upcoming 45-nm high k+ metal gate process technology, allowing Intel to cram more transistors into the processorís die without significantly increasing its size. According to Intel, the new 45-nm process gives them twice the transistor budget, this allows them to add performance enhancing features such as larger L2 caches while still delivering a cost effective die size. Intelís quad-core variant of Penryn for instance will contain approximately 820 million transistors, while the dual-core variant of Penryn will have a die size of just 107 square millimeters.
Intel has incorporated a number of architectural enhancements into Penryn that are designed to deliver clock-for-clock performance enhancements over todayís Core 2 CPUs at a given clock speed. One key new technology Intel has incorporated into Penryn is their Fast Radix-16 divider. Intelís Radix-16 divider is a new divider technique providing double the divider speed over previous processors when handling math computations (both floating-point and integer operations): 4-bits processed per cycle in Penryn versus 2-bits per cycle in todayís processors.
Penryn will also support Intelís SSE4 instructions. This should improve the processorís performance when dealing with multimedia apps (such as photo imaging, video encoding, etc) and games that have been designed with SSE4 in mind. Incorporating alongside this is Penrynís new super shuffle engine. This is a 128-bit wide, single-pass shuffle unit that will improve Penrynís performance with SSE2, SSE3, and SSE4 instructions that have shuffle-like operations. Penryn processors can perform these operations in a single cycle.
Penryn also features Intelís enhanced virtualization technology. Intel claims machine transition times have been improved from 25-75%.
For mobile Penryn processors, Intel has developed their enhanced dynamic acceleration technology for single-threaded apps. The idea is to boost performance for software applications that arenít multi-threaded. In these apps, the second core is left idling; when this occurs, Intelís dynamic acceleration technology kicks in, bumping up the clock frequency (beyond the stock CPU speed) on the processor core that is being used while the second core idles. Intel has also added a new power management state for mobile Penryn processors to reduce power consumption when the system is idle.
Larger caches, faster FSB
Penryn processors will feature considerably larger, more associative caches than todayís Core 2 CPUs. Dual-core Penryn CPUs will ship with up to 6MB of L2 cache while quad-core processors will contain up to 12MB of L2 cache.
On the front-side bus, Intel is also expected to crank up the speed. During todayís press briefing, Intel confirmed a 1600MHz FSB speed for Xeon processors, while desktop Penryn processors will be outfitted with a 1333MHz FSB. Overall clock speeds will also be significantly higher than todayís Core 2 CPUs. While Intel wouldnít outline anything specific, they did confirm that desktop Penryn CPUs will ship at speeds greater than 3GHz at launch.
Intel plans to deliver a total of six Penryn processors including dual and quad-core desktop processors and a dual core mobile processor, all which will be sold Core processor brand name. Four of these processors will be in production by the second half of 2008.
Nehalem: Intelís next brand new architecture
After Penryn, Intel plans to ship their next-gen architecture codenamed Nehalem, which will begin production in 2008. Not as much was disclosed about Nehalem. Arguably Intelís most significant announcement was that Nehalem will offer an enhanced version of their Hyper-Threading technology, allowing Nehalem to process up ď1-16+ threadsĒ while utilizing just ď1-8+Ē cores. This will allow Nehalem to deliver enhanced performance without dramatically increased power consumption. Intel also disclosed that Nehalem will incorporate an integrated memory controller and a multi-level shared cache architecture. This is similar to AMDís plans for Barcelona, with the L3 cache shared among the processing cores.
Intelís roadmap appears to be on schedule and with the performance additions inside Penryn, theyíll have a solid successor to todayís Core 2 processors, widely acknowledged by all to be the fastest processors on the market today. During todayís press briefing, Intel disclosed a 20% performance improvement for Penryn in games (this is comparing a Core 2 X6800 to a 3.2GHz Penryn CPU) and 40% improvement in video encoding when SSE4 is used.
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