Intel Touts 'Nehalem' Microarchitecture For Business

Intel's redesign of its Core architecture can host up to eight cores and is expected to be installed in next-generation rack servers, blade servers, and workstation PCs.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

September 18, 2007

3 Min Read

Intel on Tuesday unveiled details of its next-generation microarchitecture for business computers, code named Nehalem, and outlined new technologies for hardware-based security.

Patrick Gelsinger, senior VP and general manager of Intel's digital enterprise group, outlined for attendees at the Intel Developer Forum the boosts in speed and performance they can expect from Nehalem, which is scheduled to be introduced in the first quarter of 2008 with the release of 20 new processors built on the new architecture. The chips can host up to eight cores and are expected to be installed in next-generation rack servers, blade servers, and workstation PCs.

Nehalem -- a redesign of Intel's existing Core architecture -- will take advantage of the 45-nanometer scale technology that Intel plans to introduce starting Nov. 12 with 15 new processors, code-named Penryn. These processors, which are an update to the Core 2 architecture, are being designed for PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.

In showing that Nehalem is close to ready, Jim Brayton, Nehalem project manager, joined Gelsinger at his IDF keynote to demonstrate two Nehalem-based quad-core processors driving screensaver-like graphics on a display. The two chips were linked through Intel's new QuickPath Interconnect, which will provide high-speed data paths to the cores.

Nehalem-based processors will use Intel's improved high-K metal gate and hold 731 million transistors in each die. Parts of the transistors are built with the element hafnium instead of silicon, and have significantly less memory leakage than previous generations. Gelsinger claimed that Nehalem has three times the peak memory bandwidth of competing processors. "This is a superior architecture," Gelsinger told reporters and analysts following the keynote.

In the area of security and PC management, next year Intel plans to introduce McCreary, a code name for a new product that would include dual-core and quad-core processors; a new chipset code-named Eaglelake, an integrated Trusted Platform Module; and a more secure and manageable data encryption technology code-named Danbury, Gelsinger said. The new 45-nm product would be halogen and lead free, making it environmentally safer than what's available today.

Danbury builds data encryption and decryption directly into the hardware, providing better protection of encryption keys, and offering simpler system management and key recovery.

Gelsinger also discussed Tolapai, code name for a system-on-a-chip that's expected to launch next year. Targeted at the embedded and communication markets, Tolapai delivers eight times the IP Security throughput, up to 20% reduction in power, and up to a 45% smaller footprint over previous multicomponent security products, according to Intel.

In addition to unveiling product details, Gelsinger announced the formation of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, a collection of vendors dedicated to pushing adoption of the USB standard, which is used to connect many peripherals and devices to the PC. USB 3.0 will use a single connector and cable, and will deliver more than 10 times the performance of USB 2.0, Gelsinger said. The new standard also would be backward compatible to many existing USB devices.

Besides Intel, members of the promoter group include Hewlett-Packard, NEC, NXP Semiconductors, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments.

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