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Sockets, cores and threads, oh my

Intel's silicon brick roadmap

Desktops

Intel discussed its business client intentions and the results of a survey about what people were looking for, but there was nothing in it specific about desktop processors. So moving right along, we'll mention a couple of items from the mobility session that applied to desktops.

Desktop processors will transition to the Nehalem micro-architecture. Later this year or next we will see Lynnfield (4 cores, 8 threads) and Clarkdale (2 cores, 4 threads, integrated graphics) processors for desktops. Clarkdale will use the coming 32nm process from Intel but still be Nehelem micro-architecture CPUs.

Notebooks, Netbooks and other MIDS

These market sectors are served by Intel's Mobility Group. It sees new products coming, such as quad-core notebooks, hardware security, and more ultra thin and light, MacBook Air-type notebooks, which need physically smaller processors. These ultra-thins should provide the full PC experience, enabling you to use them to create videos and edit photos.

It wants ultra-thins to become mainstream and venture out from their expensive, high-end rarified niche.

Montevina is Intel's current mobile platform. It is the fifth-generation of the Centrino platform (moble chipset + mobile CPU + wireless interface) and is also known as Centrino 2. The CPU is an Intel Core 2 Duo, codename Penryn, using 45nm process technology.

Next up is the Montevina Plus platform offering longer battery life, use in ultra-thins, better visual quality and improved wireless. The processor will be a higher speed one, running at 3.3GHz, and will also use less power, operating in a 10 watts or less thermal design power envelope. That, Intel says, reduces the need for a heat sink and cooling fans.

The system will automatically detect playback of 24fps recorded video and translate this to the screen's refresh rate to avoid playback artefacts.

As with desktops there will be a notebook processor transition to Nehalem's micro-architecture. Later this year or next we will see Clarksfield (4 cores, 8 threads on the 45nm process) and Arrandale (2 cores, 4 threads, integrated graphics, on a 32nm process) processors for notebooks. The Montevina Plus platform will include these new notebook processors, which will be 40 per cent smaller than equivalent desktop processors.

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