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Appeared on: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
IDF: Intel Showcases First 22nm Chips, Westmere and Sandy Bridge CPUs

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini today displayed a silicon wafer containing the world's first working chips built on 22nm process technology, at IDF.

The 22nm test circuits include both SRAM memory as well as logic circuits to be used in future Intel microprocessors.

"At Intel, Moore's Law is alive and thriving," said Otellini. "We've begun production of the world's first 32nm microprocessor, which is also the first high-performance processor to integrate graphics with the CPU. At the same time, we're already moving ahead with development of our 22nm manufacturing technology and have built working chips that will pave the way for production of still more powerful and more capable processors."

The 22nm wafer displayed by Otellini is made up of individual die containing 364 million bits of SRAM memory and has more than 2.9 billion transistors packed into an area the size of a fingernail. The chips contain the smallest SRAM cell used in working circuits ever reported at .092 square microns. The devices rely on a third-generation high-k metal gate transistor technology for improved performance and lower leakage power.

32nm Westmere and Sandy Bridge CPUs

Intel's 32nm process is now certified and Westmere processor wafers are moving through the factory in support of planned fourth quarter revenue production, the company added. Following the move to 32nm Intel will subsequently introduce Sandy Bridge, Intel's next new microarchitecture. Sandy Bridge will feature a sixth generation graphics core on the same die as the processor core and includes AVX instructions for floating point, media, and processor intensive software.

In his Intel Developer Forum keynote, Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, demonstrated a Westmere-based PC that showed a marked increase in responsiveness on simple, everyday tasks such as Web-surfing with multiple windows open.

Moreover, Westmere is Intel's first 32nm processor, and historic in that it is the first-ever Intel processor to integrate graphics die right into the processor's package. As well as supporting Intel Turbo Boost technology and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, Westmere adds new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) instructions for faster encryption and decryption. Westmere in on track with wafers already moving through factory floors for planned fourth-quarter revenue production.

After Westmere, Intel's chip integration will continue with 32nm processors codenamed "Sandy Bridge." Sandy Bridge features Intel's sixth-generation graphics cores on the same die or silicon real estate as the processor core, and will include acceleration for floating point, video, and processor intensive software most often found in media applications. Maloney showed a Sandy Bridge-based system running a range of video and 3-D software to demonstrate the health of a far-future product line at its early stage.

Maloney demonstrated early silicon based on the "Larrabee" architecture, the codename for a family of future graphics-centric co-processors. He also confirmed that key developers have received development systems.

With the first product due next year, Larrabee takes the programmability of Intel Architecture and extends its parallel processing capabilities. This flexible programmability and the ability to take advantage of available developers, software and design tools give programmers the freedom to realize the benefits of fully programmable rendering and thus easily implement a variety of 3-D graphics pipelines such as rasterization, volumetric rendering or ray tracing.

Combined, PC users will experience stunning visual experiences on Intel-based PCs that incorporate this product. Maloney went on to demonstrate a real-time ray-traced version of the popular game "Quake Wars: Enemy Territory" running on Larrabee and Intel's next-generation enthusiast gaming processor, codenamed "Gulftown," which will carry the Core brand. While Larrabee silicon will initially appear in discrete graphics cards, the Larrabee architecture will eventually be integrated into the processor along with other technologies.

Maloney also provided attendees with a preview of Intel's next-generation intelligent server processor, codenamed Westmere-EP, and Intel's commitment to the high-end of the server market with its Xeon and Itanium processor families. Maloney discussed the improvement that the forthcoming "Nehalem-EX" server processor will deliver, with performance improvements even greater than what the current Intel Xeon 5500 Series provided versus Intel's previous chip generation.

Maloney described the convergence of compute, networking and storage in the data center, sharing the company's vision of a converged datacenter IO fabric led by Intel 10GbE solutions. Intel also has a number of joint efforts with other industry leaders to deliver optimized platforms, systems, technologies and solutions to address the "hyper-scale" data center environments of the Internet and cloud services trend.

Maloney disclosed a new ultra-low-voltage Intel Xeon 3000 series processor featuring a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of only 30 watts. To complement the broad range of dense and power-optimized platform offerings, Intel also demonstrated publicly for the first time a single-socket "micro server" reference system which will help enable micro server innovation and future specification.

Maloney also described the just-disclosed "Jasper Forest" family of embedded processors as an example of extending the company's popular Nehalem microarchitecture to new markets. Available early next year, Jasper Forest is designed for purpose-built storage, communications, military and aerospace applications, and will offer a new level of integration to save precious board space and power for these dense environments.

Finally, Maloney announced a new PC management tool using Intel vPro technology. Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) Remote Control enables IT personnel to investigate issues exactly as the user sees them, resulting in faster diagnosis, fewer desk side visits and added cost savings.

Intel Atom Processor Developer Program

Ortellini also announced the Intel Atom Processor Developer Program. The Intel Atom Developer Program provides a framework for independent software vendors (ISVs) and software developers to create and sell applications for netbooks and other Intel Atom processor-based products. To broaden application availability across platforms, the program will support multiple operating systems and run-time environments. Run-times enable developers to use a single code base to support multiple device platforms and avoid extensive reprogramming, thereby reducing development costs and time-to-market. Run-times such as Microsoft Silverlight allow developers to access multiple classes of customers and deliver rich applications for Windows and Moblin-based environments using a single toolset, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework. Intel is working with netbook OEMs ACER and Asus, to create application storefronts in which validated software applications will be sold.

"Intel Core and Atom-based processors have generated unprecedented excitement and opportunities in our key growth areas," Otellini said. "To build on this momentum, we're working on ways to create a seamless Internet experience for people across all their computing devices. Today we're announcing a program to encourage development of software applications that can be written once, but run on Windows and Moblin devices expanding their reach to more devices and consumers."

Applications for ISV and software developer memberships are currently being accepted by Intel. Members will be given access to tools and resources that will aid the pre-development process. The Intel Atom Developer Program software development kits will be available to members in late fall, the company said.

In the embedded market segment, the Atom processor is driving advanced technology into new areas from hospital patient monitoring to avionics applications to audio systems. The company currently has 460 embedded Atom design wins including Harman International Industries. The provider of a wide range of audio and infotainment products for vehicles, Harman International has announced new in-car devices based on the Atom core that will enable full Internet access, 3-D navigation, brilliant graphics and high-speed wireless connectivity.

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