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Chip Design Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Bradley, David Strom

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AMD: Article

Intel To Copy Some More of AMD's Moves

There are times when it looks like AMD is running Intel's design department. This is definitely one of them

There are times when it looks like AMD is running Intel's design department. This is definitely one of them.

Intel disclosed Wednesday that it'll be following AMD down the path of squeezing its previously separate memory controller onto the processor die. Integrating the memory controller is supposed to reduce latency, and the performance boost helped AMD win market share from Intel.

The change is set for Intel's 45nm, eight-core, multithreaded (like 16) Nehalem generation set to debut next year, which already represents a shift in microarchitecture. Intel claims it will be the "the biggest leap" in design since the Pentium Pro in 1996.

Among other things it's supposed to abandon the often-criticized front-side bus in favor of some kind of interconnect widgetry like AMD's prized HyperTransport.

Intel is also going to put graphics into some of the Nehalem chips like AMD has said it would do since buying graphics processor house ATI for $5.4 billion. Apparently Intel's decision come complements of Apple.

Nehalem is supposed to really exploit high-k/metal gate 45nm process technology. It is also supposed to give Intel the ability to segment the market and design market-specific features into the chips. The cores will be different, not the chipsets.

The 32nm shrink of Nehalem has been code named Westmere and is due in 2010.

In the second half of this year Intel is supposed to start selling its first-generation 45nm, quad- and dual-core Penryn desktop, notebook and server chips that are supposed to be 25% smaller, maybe 45% faster and have roughly 50% larger caches than the company's current processors. They are still Core 2-based.

There are supposed to be six of them and they will be socket compatible with the MP Canelands due next quarter. Their power envelopes will remain the same as current chips: 65W, 95W and 130W.

Penryns will still have the front-side bus, but one that runs at 1,600MHz not 1,333MHz. They will also reported clock better than 3GHZ.

AMD, you will remember, forced Intel in doing a 64-bit x86 chip. It won't have 45nm chips until next year. It has, however, a quad called Barcelona coming out this year that it thinks Intel can't touch until Nehalem. But Barcelonas may be in short supply.

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Most Recent Comments
barfly 04/01/07 06:10:41 PM EDT

Your article is wholly inflamatory. Do your research and you will find that Intel had an IMC design: it just did not productize it. You should also look at whom AMD ended up copying before it: notably Intel's ISA and Sun, IBM with IMC.

Next time, do a bit of research before posting such inflamatory headlines.

barfly 04/01/07 06:09:37 PM EDT

Your article is wholly inflamatory. Do your research and you will find that Intel had an IMC design: it just did not productize it. You should also look at whom AMD ended up copying before it: notably Intel's ISA and Sun, IBM with IMC.

Next time, do a bit of research before posting such inflamatory headlines.

ahmad 03/31/07 06:37:18 PM EDT

You have no idea of the history of the industry. Intel was developing an IMC many years ago called Timna, a project that was scrapped. Its not as if Intel is copying an idea that AMD has pioneered. True, AMD came up with a product earlier but its hardly an original idea. At the same time, there are disadvantages to having an IMC that you dont seem to realize, so its hardly a panacea for all problems.

ISSJ News 03/31/07 01:42:56 PM EDT

There are times when it looks like AMD is running Intel's design department. This is definitely one of them. Intel disclosed Wednesday that it'll be following AMD down the path of squeezing its previously separate memory controller onto the processor die. Integrating the memory controller is supposed to reduce latency, and the performance boost helped AMD win market share from Intel. The change is set for Intel's 45nm, eight-core, multithreaded (like 16) Nehalem generation set to debut next year, which already represents a shift in microarchitecture. Intel claims it will be the 'the biggest leap' in design since the Pentium Pro in 1996. Among other things it's supposed to abandon the often-criticized front-side bus in favor of some kind of interconnect widgetry like AMD's prized HyperTransport.