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Intel Ushers in New Quad-Core Processors For PCs and Servers

September 27, 2006

With the new Core 2 Duo processor line setting new benchmarks and achieving the mantle of the fastest-ramping product in the company’s history, with 5 million units shipped since it was introduced less than 60 days ago, Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced the company's plans today at the Intel Developer Forum to deliver the industry’s first quad core processors for PCs and high-volume servers.

The first processor, targeted at gamers and content creators, will be shipped in November and be called the Intel® Core™2 Extreme quad-core processor. It supposedly will feature a dramatic 70 percent performance improvement over today’s Intel Core 2 Extreme processor. The company’s mainstream quad-core processor will be shipped in the first quarter of 2007 and will be called the Intel® Core™2 Quad processor. For servers, the Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor 5300 series brand for dual processor servers will be shipped this year, and a new low-power 50-watt Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor L5310 for blade servers that will be shipped in the first quarter of 2007.

According to Otellini, Intel was the first to implement advanced 65nm silicon manufacturing technology in 2005, integrating power-saving features into the process that was critical to delivering power-efficiency at the transistor level. Looking ahead, Intel’s next-generation 45nm technology is on track for production in the second half of 2007 as planned, and Otellini disclosed for the first time that the company has 15 45nm products already in development across desktop, mobile, and enterprise segments. The first of these products is on track to complete its design in the fourth quarter of this year. He described the company’s extensive 45-nm factory network with more than 500,000 square feet of clean room space and more than $9 billion invested.

Otellini estimated that the “cadence” of these new manufacturing process technologies which follow Moore’s Law, coupled with Intel’s plans to introduce new micro-architectures about every 2 years, will result in significant performance-per-watt improvements over today’s Core micro-architecture products by 2010. He showed a chart that mapped out new micro-architectures coming in 2008 (code-named Nehalem and targeted at 45nm) followed by another in 2010 (code-named Gesher and targeted at 32nm). These new micro architectures will be developed by separate teams working in parallel, and targeted for intersection with specific future process technologies.

By the end of the decade we will deliver a 300 percent increase in performance per watt over today’s processors,” he said. “This improved power and performance will enable developers and manufacturers to develop systems with incredibly exciting new capabilities.”

To demonstrate how Moore’s Law will continue well into the future with amazing potential, Otellini showed a new research prototype processor that has 80 floating point cores on a single die. The tiny silicon die on this experimental chip, just 300mm², is capable of achieving a Teraflop of performance, or 1 trillion floating point operations per second. He contrasted this with Intel’s historic breakthrough 11 years ago with the world’s first Teraflop supercomputer, a massive machine powered by nearly 10,000 Pentium Pro processors in more than 85 large cabinets occupying about 2,000 square feet.

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