Intel rolls out 'breakthrough' chip tech bound for Macs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Intel Corp. has taken the wraps off of a new 45 nanometer processor technology that could be a cure-all for performance and power roadblocks threatening to frustrate the personal computer industry over next few years -- and a reality in shipping Macs by the end of 2007.



Known today only as "Penryn," the design uses a blend of hafnium and other rare metals in its transistors to keep the flow of electricity in check, reducing the amount of power leakage by as much as ten times over today's Core 2 and Xeon processors.



The refined process will allow many more transistors to fit on to a single chip -- as many as 800 million in a quad-core version, Intel said -- while still cutting back on the heat and power levels that are the bane of most CPUs.



While fundamentally a mirror of the Core 2 architecture introduced in mid-2006, Penryn's nearly doubled chip density compared to existing 65 nanometer versions both reduces the delays in crunching instructions and leaves space for more features. The updated chips will contain a whopping 12MB of second-level cache on a dual-core model, up 50 percent from the Core 2 Duo. They'll also contain a new set of instructions titled SSE4 that will help with media decoding and other vector code.



All this will be possible while continuing to ramp up clock speeds and improve power management, Intel said in a statement over the past weekend.



The Santa Clara-based chipmaker has planned an equally pleasant surprise in a prompt release of the new technology. Even as rivals are still adjusting to the idea of 65nm processors,the company noted that the newfound freedom gained from switching to 45nm will let it ship Penryn as soon as the second half of 2007 -- several months ahead of a similar development from AMD and IBM.



A close-up of a 300mm silicon test wafer made using Intel's 45nm process technology



Fully-functional processors are already being used in prototype machines. In total, Intel said fifteen different chips are in the works for systems ranging from workstations and servers to heat- and power-sensitive laptops.



At least some of these designs are headed to the Mac platform. Breaking with Apple's tradition of absolute secrecy in advance of official releases, the chipmaker revealed that it had specifically booted and run Mac OS X on the new processor design. Unsurprisingly, no specific testbed models were mentioned; however, the sweeping nature of the Penryn overhaul points to Apple receiving the die-shrunk Core 2 and Xeon systems as soon as the summer's end.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    eduardoeduardo Posts: 181member
    Bloody amazing!



    Geez, hard to believe the rate of processor upgrades back in the "Power PC" days.



    Who would have thought that Apple would upgrade their machines in a span of just months prior to having Intel provide the CPU's (for example the recent bump to the Macbooks).
  • Reply 2 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The updated chips will contain a whopping 12MB of second-level cache on a dual-core model, up 50 percent from the Core 2 Duo.



    I think you mean 12MB on the quad core models, as they already contain 8MB of L2 cache. Penryn is set to have 6MB L2 cache on the dual core models.
  • Reply 3 of 68
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Rhetorical Questions:



    Is there still anyone who thinks Apple make a poor choice by going with Intel over other chip makers?



    I wonder how far AMD stock will drop today?
  • Reply 4 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Rhetorical Questions:



    Is there still anyone who thinks Apple make a poor choice by going with Intel over other chip makers?



    I wonder how far AMD stock will drop today?



    Nope, Intel's blowing AMD away lately with announcements. They're spending a LOT in r&d though, cutting into their profits signficantly last I heard.
  • Reply 5 of 68
    I've never seen such a pretty photo of a silicon test wafer.
  • Reply 6 of 68
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Not to burst any bubbles here because I am totally behind the intel switch, but IBM made the announcement of the same technology at the same time, and if they are still working with AMD, AMD wont be too far behind.



    IBM, Intel pace each other with improved transistors
  • Reply 7 of 68
    boogabooga Posts: 1,082member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Penryn's nearly doubled chip density compared to existing 65 nanometer versions both reduces the delays in crunching instructions and leaves space for more features.



    I'm just curious about the math where 65 is double 45. A "50% increase" in density seems closer to reality. Or is there something else besides the nm measurement feeding the additional density?



    Still, I want one. Hopefully Apple will either release their mid-range mini or a laptop with a docking station this year. (Need more than a mini, already have 2 monitors so not getting an iMac, can't justify a Pro, and see no point in a laptop without a dock for me personally.)
  • Reply 8 of 68
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,006member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I'm just curious about the math where 65 is double 45. A "50% increase" in density seems closer to reality.



    I was wondering the same thing...
  • Reply 9 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I'm just curious about the math where 65 is double 45. A "50% increase" in density seems closer to reality. Or is there something else besides the nm measurement feeding the additional density?



    (surface) density = n * (area)^(-1) = n * (length)^(-2)
  • Reply 10 of 68
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    Not to burst any bubbles here because I am totally behind the intel switch, but IBM made the announcement of the same technology at the same time, and if they are still working with AMD, AMD wont be too far behind.



    IBM, Intel pace each other with improved transistors



    About a year.
  • Reply 11 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I'm just curious about the math where 65 is double 45.



    65 x 65 = 4225

    45 x 45 = 2025



    The 45nm process is more than twice as dense as the 65nm process.
  • Reply 12 of 68
    Which system will most likely use this chip?
  • Reply 13 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MauiMac View Post


    Which system will most likely use this chip?



    The penryn family of chips includes chips for laptops and desktops. Yorkfield and Wolfdale are desktop. Montevina is the laptop family that includes a penryn-class processor.
  • Reply 14 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by polyester View Post


    I've never seen such a pretty photo of a silicon test wafer.



    exactly what I was thinking.
  • Reply 15 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retroneo View Post


    The penryn family of chips includes chips for laptops and desktops. Yorkfield and Wolfdale are desktop. Montevina is the laptop family that includes a penryn-class processor.



    Do you guys make these names up?



    (I know you don't, but it sure sounds like you do.)



    I'm waiting for the Washingraham to find its way into the Mac Pro and the Schnauzerdoodle to take over the laptop class.
  • Reply 16 of 68
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,006member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retroneo View Post


    65 x 65 = 4225

    45 x 45 = 2025



    The 45nm process is more than twice as dense as the 65nm process.



    Thank you for a clear/helpful answer!
  • Reply 17 of 68
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,006member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elwood56 View Post


    (surface) density = n * (area)^(-1) = n * (length)^(-2)



    If that made sense to us, we probably wouldn't have asked in the first place...
  • Reply 18 of 68
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retroneo View Post


    The penryn family of chips includes chips for laptops and desktops. Yorkfield and Wolfdale are desktop. Montevina is the laptop family that includes a penryn-class processor.



    Isn't montevina the Centrino after Santa Rosa? I thought Penryn was the name for the family and the laptop processor?



    Also, the server versions of this may need new chipsets, because the current chipset in my Mac Pro is only rated to handle 50x0s (P4-based), 51x0s (Woodcrest), and 53x0s (Clovertown).



    Also, the desktop version might require Bearlake (the 1333 MHz desktop chipset w/ PCIe 2.0) and the laptop versions will need Socket P (part of Santa Rosa, coming soon).
  • Reply 19 of 68
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    I was all set to buy a new, spring MBP based on the Santa Rosa platform so what do I do now, wait until the fall for a Penryn system? Will it be slightly faster, slightly cooler, and have a bit more battery life? Is it worth the wait? I've got a 9/03 PB and would like to get a MBP with Leopard.
  • Reply 20 of 68
    I couldn't have heard worse news. As a writer, my budget is tight, so each upgrade has to last a long time. I waited for Core 2 because Core 1 was too hot. That was easy. Now, just as I was about to bite down on a juicy Macbook, Apple and Intel dangle this tempting bit of bait in the water, saying "Just wait a few more months and look what you'll get." The jerks! Why can't it be like before, when in a good year a PPC chip might get a meager 100 MHz boost. Blankity, blankity, blank that Intel.



    The good side of fast-changing technology is that there's always something better in the pipeline. The bad side is also that there's always something better in the pipeline.



    --Mike Perry, Untangling Tolkien (LOTR chronology)
Sign In or Register to comment.