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Intel's Otellini accelerates performance-per-Watt plan

First 45nm CPU designs to tape out next quarter

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IDF Intel will tape out its first 45nm microprocessor designs during Q4, company CEO Paul Otellini revealed today. That's the first step on the road to delivering a CPU that consumes a tenth of the power today's chips do. Otellini promised such a part a year ago. Today, he said it will arrive in 2008, two years earlier than forecast.

Right now, Intel has shipped more than five million 65nm Core 2 Duo notebook and desktop processors in the first 60 days of the product family's availability - the fastest product ramp in the chip giant's history, Otellini claimed.

He also said the company shipped more than 1m Xeon 5100 65nm server chips in the part's first three months on the market - another company record, this time the fastest server chip sales ramp. The 5100 series, he added, now accounts for more than half of Intel's DP chip shipments.

Intel has shipped more than 40 million 65nm processors since the first ones went out to customers in late 2005, Otellini said before stressing that no other company - and guess who he's thinking of - has "production" 65nm products out there. Intel is now shipping more 65nm parts than 90nm ones.

The 65nm process will be used to fab the x86-compatible 'Steely' ultra-mobile PC-oriented CPU, which will debut some time in H1 2007 and deliver the same performance as Core 2 Duo but consumer half the power, Otellini claimed. Steely's - or Steeley? - the successor to XScale.

Looking ahead to the next process node, Otellini re-iterated Intel's plan to ship a new processor architecture, codenamed 'Nehalem', in 2008 and fabbed at 45nm. That said, the first 45nm CPUs - Core 2 chips essentially - will go into production in around a year's time - some time in H2 2007, according to Otellini - well ahead of the introduction of Nehalem.

He said the first 45nm CPU designs - of which the company now has 15 in the works - will tape out next quarter ready to go into production at the company's Fab D1D and Fab 32 in H2 2007, and Fab 28 in H1 2008. Intel's spending $9bn readying these three facilities for 45nm production, Otellini said.

Promising a 310 per cent increase in Intel processors' performance-per-Watt ratings by the end of the decade - by which time it will be punching out 32nm chips based on the 'Gesher' architecture - Otellini claimed the company has the right "model for sustained tech leadership". ®

Read Reg Hardware's complete IDF Fall 06 coverage here

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