Santa Clara (CA) - With clock speeds ranging from 2.0 GHz to 3.4 GHz, Intel has announced sixteen new new 45nm processors with front side bus speeds up to 1,600 MHz and L2 caches of up to 6 MB. These new "Penryn" Core 2 based processors include 15 new Xeon processors, twelve quad-core and three dual-core, and one extreme quad-core for desktops, the QX9650.
Intel is also releasing three new platforms to support the new Xeons. These include the 5400 "Stoakley" chipset for high-performance computing, 5100 "Cranberry Lake" as a "cost-optimized" chipset, and the 3200 "Garlow" single-processor server chipset for entry-level machines. Also, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core desktop processor is released at 3.0 GHz.
ImageThe Xeons will sell from $177 to $1,279 with QX9650 selling for $999, all in quantities of 1,000. Intel does not appear to have all of these products immediately available. Their press release indicates availability between today and 45 days depending on model, placing some of them near the end of 2007 for street access. At the time of this article, the QX9650 was listed on one of our supplier’s websites, however it was not yet available. The retail price was $1,199 or $200 more than the 1,000 unit quantity price.
These new processors include enhancements made for Intel’s virtualization technology shown to improve performance 25% to 75% with no changes in software. Intel also added a Radix 16 fast divide algorithm, which reduces the number of clock cycles required to carry out often costly divide operations. This new divide algorithm nearly doubles the throughput. Intel also made improvements to their SSE engine through a new super shuffle engine, which cam improve SSE instructions that have shuffle-like operations. These are internal enhancements which do not require a recompile to take advantage.
All of these new processors are released on Intel’s 45nm hi-k metal gate process technology, which Gordon Moore has called the most significant advancement in transistors in 40 years. The new process uses a hafnium-based high-k dielectric layer, and an unannounced metal gate formula which, according to Intel, allows for 25% smaller features, greater power savings thanks to reduced gate leakage, and will prove a stepping stone toward the next process node, that of 32nm.