Intel introduces 32 nm CPU - More details on the Nehalem successor
At the ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) Intel introduced the first working 32 nanometer processor, codename Westmere.
The codename of Intel's new processor family is Westmere. Switching the chip production for 45 nanometers to 32 nanometers is currently scheduled for the end of 2009. In a conference call Intel revealed additional details.
Westmere: Nehalem with 32 nanometers
The production of the new chips is supposed to begin in Q4 2009 and the Fab in Oregon is currently converted - thus Intel is on schedule: According to the "Tick-Tock” model a new production process is introduced every two years. In late 2007 the Penryn family with 45 nm had been introduced. The 32 nm processor with the codename P1268 doesn't just promise smaller CPU cores, but also a lower TDP. According to Intel, the new process costs 8 billion US Dollars.
There currently are no details on the cache size or clock speeds. Westmere gets seven new commands which are supposed to accelerate AES encryption and decryption. The Turbo Boost feature, known form the Bloomfield, is included, too and Westmere is capable of Hyperthreading to virtually double the number of available cores.
What will we see this year?
The desktop processor Lynnfield, which will probably hit the markets as Core i5 with four cores (eight threads due to HT) in mid-year, is still based on the 45 nanometer structure. Intel also wants to deliver a notebook version, called Clarksfield, with four cores and 45 nm architecture. Around the end of the year the first two Westmere models will be released: Lynnfield, on the desktop market, will be supported by the entry-level processor Clarkdale with two cores/four threads and 32 nanometer technology - the mobile version is called Arrandale. Clarkdale and Arrandale will be available with integrated graphics units. Those GPUs will still be produced in 45 nanometers and will be DX 10 capable - more details aren't available.
All those processors will communicate with chipsets of the 5 series, but those won't have a lot do: The "chipset” will consist of a single chip while the memory controller will be included in the CPU - as seen on Nehalem - and if necessary the GPU will be integrated in the processor, too. Westmere will also deal with the connection of external graphics cards via PCI-Express - so the Northbridge will mainly handle the feed of optical drives and input devices.
The high-end market won't be resupplied until 2010. Then the Core i7 will be replaced by a 6-core 32 nm processor called Gulftown which will have 12 threads due to HT. It is said to be compatible to the same X58 chipset as the i7/Bloomfield. Probably around late 2010 an new processor generation with the codename Sandy Bridge which will be produced in 32 nanometers will follow - just in step with the Tick-Tock model and Intel says this generation is on schedule, too.
Below we summarized the forthcoming Nehalem and Westmere products.
|Segment||Nehalem (45 nm)||Cores||Threads||Westmere (32 nm)||Cores||Threads|
|Mainstream||Lynnfield||4||8||Clarkdale (incl. iGFX)||2||4|
|Mobile||Clarksfield||4||8||Arrandale (incl. iGFX)||2||4|
|Server||Expandable Scalable (typically 4+ sockets)||Nehalem-EX||8||16||Future Westmere CPU|
|Efficient Performance (typically 2+ sockets)||Nehalem-EP||4||8||Future Westmere CPU|
|Entry (1 Socket)||Lynnfield||4||8||Clarkdale (incl. iGFX)||2||4|
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