Intel, AMD cross swords over upcoming CPUs

Intel Corp said this week that in the second half of the year it will begin production of the next generation Core 2 processor family codenamed “Penryn” which is based on a 45-nanometer (nm) Hi-k metal gate process technology and the latest microarchitecture enhancements.

The company said the new architecture will result in higher performance and more energy-efficient CPUs.

Six Penryn family processors, including dual and quad-core desktop processors and a dual core mobile processor are all under the Intel Core processor brand name as well as new dual and quad-core server processors under the Xeon processor brand name.

A processor for higher-end server multiprocessing systems is also under development.

Penryn processors include up to a 50 percent larger L2 cache than previous generation CPUs, with a higher degree of associativity to further improve the hit rate and maximize its utilization.

Dual-core Penryn processors will feature up to a 6MB L2 cache and quad-core processors up to a 12MB L2 cache.

The mobile Penryn processor has a new advanced power management state Intel calls Deep Power Down Technology that significantly reduces the power of the processor during idle periods such that internal transistor power leakage is no longer a factor. This helps extend battery life in laptops.

After Penryn will come the Nehalem family of chips, said to be another new architecture, slated for initial production in 2008.

These will feature dynamically managed cores, threads, cache, interfaces and power, and simultaneous multi-threading.

Arch rival AMD put out the following statement immediately after the Intel news:

“In mid-year, AMD will launch its native quad-core processor with an enhanced architecture, code-named “Barcelona.” Our competitor’s announcement today is further validation that their current architecture will not be competitive with Barcelona until they make this transition that we showed the industry in 2003 with Direct Connect Architecture.

“The dual-core performance leadership we have today is building a bridge to Barcelona and the increased performance it will deliver in a non-disruptive fashion. We are not requiring our customers to make wholesale infrastructure changes in order to achieve incremental performance gains.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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