World of Microprocessors

I have been terribly busy lately and my energy seems to be drained out completely once I reach home. It’s time to write something.

Penryn Die

For no apparent reason I was browsing the Internet when my eyes caught on the words Intel and Penryn. I was curious. Really curious so I Googled the words.

The results of my search was a bit surprising. Not long after Intel® introduced Core™2 processors (a year plus ago), based on 65 nanometer process, Intel is planning to release Penryn in the second half of 2007. Penryn is the next generation Intel® Core™2 family processors which is built using 45 nanometer transistors.

After Penryn, in 2008 Intel is planning to release Nehalem which will have a brand new micro architecture and after that, they will go for 30 nanometer transistors.

Penryn basically introduces SSE4 (with 47 new SSE instructions) and should run faster than the current processors clocked at the same speed. It is much smaller so that a silicon wafer can produce more chips which in turn translates to lower cost and better profit for Intel. I wish I have some share in that company. Penryn also supports 6MB of L2 cache per two core, meaning that the quad-core version can have up to 12MB L2 cache. Everything is built with 410 million transistors. Amazing.

The race for smaller transistors have long begun, and Intel has been succeeding as a leader compared to the rival – AMD®. While Intel introduced the 65 nanometer processor in late 2005, AMD was only able to release the same technology roughly a year after. To outrun Intel, AMD has vowed to try to release its 45 nanometer processors within 18 months after the release of its 65 nanometer processor, and that roughly translates to mid 2008. It looks like Intel is not allowing that to happen.

As a long time Intel user, I am of course biased towards Intel. But I still remember my 80386DX was made by AMD 😉

What is happening is indeed a proof of Moore’s_law being valid. It states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit for minimum component cost doubles every 24 months. Mr Moore is still alive and kicking and he was the co-founder of Intel.

If you’re a college student, avoid doing a project to research about all processors that were ever made unless you are really into it. When I was in college I was so into microprocessors and that is what I did. However back then it was still possible as the latest processor available were Pentium II. Nowadays, I am all confused with so many code names and numerical conventions. The latest processor that I have in my household is a Celeron D, while my torrent box is running on a 9 year old Pentium III 600MHz.

Read more:

45nm Hi-k Next Generation Intel® Core™ Microarchitecture
A review at AnandTech

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