Improving the energy-efficiency of computer processors (aka chips) is the key to improving computer performance, Intel (News
) indicated in its Sunday announcement about a new family of chips. The chipmaker developed a new transistor formula to cut down on energy leaks, which it sees as a threat to future computer innovation.
This new method was unveiled in 16 high-end PC and server processors from Intel. An added benefit of the formula is that it eliminates the need to use lead (an environmental hazard). Also, by 2008 Intel expects the process will also do away with halogen materials.
So, not only is the formula breaking new ground in terms of computer processing power, but it’s “green” as well.
For its new transistor formula, Intel combined two advances: the company’s Hafnium-based high-k metal gate formula (enables hundreds of millions of transistors to be built into each processor) and its 45-nanometer manufacturing process (boosts performance, lowers power consumption).
Intel expects that the breakthroughs it made with this new formula open the door for designing and building chips 25 percent smaller than previously possible. During 2008, the company will be focusing on just that, developing “system on chip” products for ultra mobile and consumer electronics devices.
The flagship product in Sunday’s unveiling was the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 core processor, designed for use by gamers and media enthusiasts. This chip is already wowing game-maker Crytek, developer of first-person shooter game Crysis.
“One of our goals was to optimize Crysis in order to deliver the ultimate quality, bringing mind-blowing game play to the latest hardware,” said Douglas Binks, R&D manager at Crytek, in a statement. “With the new 45nm Hi-k Intel Core 2 Extreme processors, we use multi-core technology to enable physics, particle effects and audio on separate cores, helping Crysis to create an astounding gaming experience.”
Intel’s Sunday launch also 15 dual-core and quad-core server chips. Twelve of these processors feature clock speeds ranging from 2GHz to 3.20GHz, front side bus
speeds as high as 1600MHz and 12MB caches. The remaining three chips clock up to 3.40GHz with FSB up to 1600MHz and 6M caches.
The company designed these new Xeon processors to be compatible with server platforms built on the Intel 5000 chipset family. Three new platform solutions, supporting the 45nm processors, were also launched:
Intel 5400 chipset-based platform, aka “Stoakley,” optimized for high-bandwidth applications.
Intel 5100 Memory Controller Hub chipset, aka “Cranberry Lake,” cost-optimized for one or two processors.
Intel 3200 chipset-based platform, aka “Garlow,” designed for single-processor entry servers.
“The intellects, physics and designs that went into solving one of the industry's most daunting challenges are awe-inspiring and I congratulate the Intel teams for this breakthrough achievement,” Intel’s president and CEO, Paul Otellini, said in a statement.
Otellini continued: “Best yet, this feat, coupled with our industry-leading architectures, means faster and sleeker computers, longer battery life and better energy efficiency. Our objective is to bring consumers a new class of computers delivering a full Internet experience in ever-smaller, more portable form factors.”
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Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. She also blogs for TMCnet here.