Intel to officially show the next line of chips on IDF 2009
On the next Intel Developer Forum on September 22 to 24, the chip maker will exhibit the architecture of its latest and the first lineup of chips made using a 32 nanometer process. The Westmere lineup, scheduled for released in 2010, is intended to be the next line of CPUs for server, desktop and laptop computers.
Smaller, faster and consuming less power than the previous series of chips made using the 45 nanometer fabrication process, the initial release of Westmere series microprocessor features an integrated graphical processing unit (GPU). Aside from multiple core processor architecture, other details include a 4MB cache, an integrated memory controller and an ability to run two threads on each core.
Westmere chips, intended for laptop use, are codenamed “Arrandale” while chips intended for desktop computers will receive the “Clarkdale” tag. Arrandale chips are dual core packages with important new features like improved battery life in laptops as well as increased graphic performance. Clarkdale and Arrandale chips will be introduced to the market before the first half of 2010. However, buyers should expect to see the same range of clock speeds found in older chips. Increased performance will not come from raw clock speed but as a result of innovations introduced into the chip.
Clarkdale chips, when marketed, will be branded as Core i5, Core i3 and Pentium while Arrandale chips will be branded as Core i7 or Core i3.
During the forum, there will be a demonstration of server units using energy-efficiency performance Westmere-EP chips. Emphasis will be given to security features such as increased encryption and decryption rates using the Advanced Encryption Standard. The server chip will also feature carry-less multiplication instructions which increases performance and security against software attacks. Another feature useful for servers is improved virtualization latency.
The Westmere lineup is adapted from the older Nehalem series of chips. The Nehalem series was an important milestone for Intel because it was the first microprocessor with an integrated memory controller. Current Nehalem chips include the high end I7 chips as well as Xeon server microprocessors. The Nehalem series was proven to be too expensive for average desktop and notebook use. Intel created the Westmere series by process shrinking the Nehalem architecture, absorbing the technological innovations that found its way into the older chip but reducing chip manufacturing costs.
The 32 nanometer fabrication process was supposed to be implemented on a much later date but Intel decided to adopt the fabrication process more quickly than planned. A sum of $7 billion was earmarked for the conversion and modernization of fabrication plants to the 32 nanometer process at the same time reduce manufacturing costs while increasing chip production.
Aside from the Westmere chip, Intel may showcase the Larrabee chip during the forum. The chip will feature more than two cores per processor as well as integrated graphical processing capability. The high end chip is intended for high performance computers like gaming PCs as well as parallel processing workstations for oil and gas exploration.