Intel has spilled some beans on their upcoming 45nm core, codenamed Penryn, while giving a bit of info on the next microarchitecture set to appear in 2008, currently codenamed Nehalem. Check out Intel.com for the full scoop, but here are a few tidbits:
- Penryn is expected to have approximately twice the amount of transistors as Conroe (so about 500 million). Quad cores will have 820 million transistors; so close to that 1 billion milestone… All this on a die that is 107mm2.
- The CPU will have the ability to run as a single core CPU; one will enter into an idle state, and the other will run at an even higher clock speed than normal! This should take care of that pesky problem with multi-core CPU’s being slow in older programs that don’t support SMP.
- Intel has sped up transistor switching by 20%, so it will attain even high performance per clock.
- Lower leakage current = further reduced power consumption.
- Penryn will introduce SSE4 instructions.
- Speaking of SSE, thanks to a new 128 bit single-pass shuffle unit, SSE latency will be reduced by half, without a need for software to be updated to support the new engine.
- Like Conroe, Penryn will have 1 cache per 2 cores. The cache size will be increased to 6MB for dual core and 12MB for quad
- We have some clock speeds to report: 3GHz to start with. At this speed, the dual core will be at 65W TDP (same as the 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo/Extreme), while the Quad core will be 130W (same as the 2.67 GHz Core 2 Quad Extreme).
- Divider performance has roughly doubled; I’m not sure on the specifics of Folding@Home, but I think this should significantly increase performance in applications like that.
- Mobile users will love this: You think C4 power state is good by lowering the clock speed to about half and partially flushing the cache? Penryn introduces what Intel calls Deep Power Down state; absolutely everything on the CPU is shut off – core clock, caches, etc. A tiny amount of voltage is used to return to full state. This could almost make shutting down your laptop for a few minutes a thing of the past.
A tiny bit of info on Nehalem, Intel’s upcoming microarchitecture that will replace Penryn next year, was given. Hyperthreading (or something like it) will make a return in the form of ‘Simultaneous Multi-Threading’. Expect 8-core processors to arrive some time next year with 16 threads, all running simultaneously.
These threads will all be dynamically managed, along with better power management, interfaces, and cache. Intel is really focusing on scalability in the coming years, as you can see.