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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Intel: Innovation in Mobility and Power-efficient Chip Architecture

Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini says gigahertz is out, and "performance per watt" is in. The story comes Intel Developer Forum currently held in San Francisco where Intel's CEO underlined the need for low power consumption and heat dissipation of semiconductors.

Intel believes that energy-efficiency is equally as important as raw speed, because heat and power consumption have a direct impact on performance and battery life. Intel also announced an agreement with Matsushita Battery Industrial (MBI) to jointly develop more powerful battery technology to support the vision for "all-day computing" for future Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology-based platforms. Eventually, Intel hopes its chips crank at ten times the speed of current chips, but with one-tenth the power drain. It's a goal that Intel might have trouble attaining without flawless execution.

In describing Intel?s role in driving innovation, Otellini unveiled the company's next-generation, power-optimized micro-architecture for future digital home, enterprise, mobile and emerging market platforms, along with low-power products that the company believes will empower a new category of converged consumer devices.

Intel said it would introduce the micro-architecture in the second half of 2006, which combines the company's current Intel NetBurst and Pentium M micro-architectures with new features.

Otellini introduced several new chips at the conference, which he says will hit the market next year.

Merom, a notebook chip coming in the second half of 2006, will consume a maximum of 5 watts of power, while an ultra-low-voltage version of the chip coming at the end of that year will consume 0.5 watt. Current Pentium M chips for notebooks consume a maximum of about 22 watts, while ultra-low-voltage Pentium Ms on the market today consume 5.5 watts.

Conroe, a desktop relative of Merom coming out at the same time, will consume a maximum of 65 watts. Current Pentium 4s consume close to 95 watts. In servers, Woodcrest will consume a maximum of 80 watts, far less than the 110-watt maximum of today's Xeon processors.

Toward the end of the decade, Intel will also come out with an ultra-low-power version of its chip for consumer electronics that consumes one-tenth of the power of chips like Merom, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said.

The first public demonstrations of the Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest processors were shown for notebook, desktop and server platforms designed on Intel's 65nm technology manufacturing process. He also said Intel has more than 10 processor projects that contain four (quad-core) or more processor cores per chip.

Other road map details go as follows:

- Servers: Intel will come out with a dual-core server chip, code-named Paxville, later this year. The initial version of Paxville will fit into two-processor servers. A version for servers with four or more will come out in 2006.

In the second half of 2006, Tulsa, for four-processor servers, will debut along with Woodcrest. Then in 2007, Whitefield, Intel's first four-core processor, will come out. Whitefield is being designed in the company's labs in Bangalore.

- Desktops: Presler, a chip out of the Pentium 4 line, will appear in the first half of 2006, while Conroe will follow in the second half. Two PC platforms, or blueprints, are being prepped for Conroe: Averill, for corporate computers, and Bridge Creek, for home computers.

For value desktops, Intel will release Cedar Mill in the second half. Although over 90 percent of Intel chips will sport two cores by 2007, single-core chips like Cedar Mill will still be around. These sort of chips cost less to make.

- Notebooks: Yonah, a new notebook chip, will appear in the first part of 2006, before Merom.

The AMD reaction

Separately Wednesday, Otellini addressed its main competitor, AMD, which today took out full page ads in national newspapers to challenge Intel to a "dual core duel" to see whose chips are faster.

"Since we launched Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors in April 2005, we've won every major industry-standard benchmark for x86 servers. AMD64 dual-core technology provides industry-leading performance, is easy to upgrade and is energy efficient," said Marty Seyer, corporate vice president and general manager, Microprocessor Solutions Sector, AMD. "We are giving our competitor a fair and open opportunity to challenge our clear market leadership in a public setting. A head-to-head match using industry-standard benchmarks will arm customers with the information necessary to determine which company can best meet their computing needs. The gauntlet has been thrown down, it is time to cut through the hype, and demonstrate who the industry's leader in x86 dual-core processing is today."

Declining the opportunity to attack, Otellini said "I think that companies and products are best judged in the marketplace."

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