Intel unveils improved chips

Intel has unveiled 16 server and high-end PC processors that incorporate the company's 45-nanometer transistor technology to boost performance and lower power consumption.

The company introduced the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad core processor, a high-end desktop PC processor. Enhancements include a larger L2 cache and support for new Intel Streaming SMID Extension 4 (SSE4) media instructions to take desktop performance to new levels.

Intel also took the wraps off a new line of dual-core and quad-core server processors. The 12 quad-core chips boost clock speeds ranging from 2 Gigahertz to 3.20GHz with front side bus speeds (FSB) as high as 1600 Megahertz and cache sizes of 12M.

The three dual-core chips feature clock speeds as high as 3.40GHz, an FSB as high as 1600MHz and cache sizes of 6M.

The 45-nanometer transistor technology reduces wasteful electricity leaks and eliminates eco-unfriendly lead and, next year, halogen materials, Intel officials said.

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore described the transistor advancements as the biggest in 40 years. The processors are the first to use Intel's Hafnium-based high-k metal gate formula, which lets Intel pack hundreds of millions of transistors onto a chip.

These breakthroughs clear the path for Intel to design products that are 25 percent smaller than previous versions and pursue new ultra mobile and consumer electronic system-on-chip opportunities next year, Intel officials said.

The move from 65-nanometer to 45-nanometer transistor technology involves more than just shrinkage in chip design. The processors include additional features such as new Intel SSE4 instructions that speed workloads for video encoding for high-definition and photo manipulations and key high-performance computing and enterprise applications.

The company also offers enhanced Intel Virtualization Technology that improves virtual-machine transition times by an average of 25 to 75 percent through hardware. No software changes are required, company officials said.

Prices of the 45nm Xeon processors range from $177 to $1,279 in quantities of 1,000 and depend on the model, speeds, features and number ordered. The 45nm Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor is priced at $999 in quantities of 1,000.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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