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Intel 65nm-to-45nm crossover coming in 2008

45nm CPUs to raise clock frequencies once again?

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Intel expects to begin shipping more 45nm processors than 65nm chips - the so-called 'crossover point' - in 2008, a company staffer revealed this week.

According to Rob Willoner, an analyst with Intel's technology and manufacturing group, cited by DigiTimes, Intel's D1D fab in Oregon will be the first to begin volume production of 45nm CPUs.

That's due to take place late 2007, according to Intel's past comments on its roll-out schedule. Earlier this week, the company revealed it has begun sampling 'Penryn', the 45nm incarnation of the Core 2 processor architecture, currently shipping in 65nm product. Those samples will be coming out of D1D's developmental 45nm production line.

Penryn will also extend the Core 2 architecture - it's expected to play host to the fourth set of Intel's Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE), a further 48 instructions designed to improve the processor's ability to handle multimedia applications. Penryn will also introduce two further instructions dubbed by Intel "application-targeted accelerators".

Far Eastern industry sources have claimed the shift to 45nm will see a jump to clock frequencies of more than 3GHz, something both Intel and AMD have avoided during the current generation of dual-core CPUs and the coming quad-core chips, preferring to avoid the heat and power consumption problems of higher clock speeds in order to promote the benefits of multi-core computing.

Presumably, both companies hope the move to 45nm will allow them to raise clock frequencies without inflating their processors' thermal envelopes. ®

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