Intel fleshes out multi-core plan to boost computing performance


Intel fleshes out multi-core plan to boost computing performance

Danny Bradbury

Intel will introduce a family of three processors in the second half of 2006 to flesh out its multi-core strategy for notebooks, desktops and servers.
Multi-core chips, where more than one processor core is embedded in a processor, is becoming an increasing focus in Intel's development strategy to improve chip performance. Multi-core chips will allow users to deploy servers and desktops that not only run faster but also consume less electricity, Intel said.
The company has already put two processing cores onto a single piece of silicon in its Pentium Extreme and Pentium D lines, and it plans a dual-core Itanium processor - Montecito - later this year.
"Multi-core enables us to deliver continued performance without the power penalties that we saw in the gigahertz approach," said Intel chief executive Paul Otellini.
The new processors for 2006 are codenamed Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest. Merom, the notebook processor, updates the Yohan mobile processor that Intel is due to release this year as part of its Napa mobile computing platform.
On the desktop, Conroe will supersede the Presler processor due for release in the first half of next year. It will move desktop power consumption to 65 watts.
On the server, the Xeon-class Woodcrest processor will cut power consumption by 40% and will support dual-CPU configurations, Intel said.
The dual-core Merom mobile processor will deliver three times the performance per watt over the original 2003 Banias chip, according to Intel. The Conroe desktop processor will boost the performance per watt fivefold over its Northwood predecessor, introduced three years ago.
Through the chipmaker's drive to lower electricity consumption, in 2006, notebooks will be able to run at five watts, according to Intel.
"Performance per watt is obvious for things you carry along with you - you want higher performance and longer battery life. But increasingly it is essential for things beyond mobility," said Otellini.

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