Intel Goes Energy-Efficient

By Nicole Freeman, Technology Editor

At Its Core
At a recent Intel® Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, CA, Intel announced details of its forthcoming Intel® Core™ microarchitecture, a multicore server, desktop, and mobile processor expected to ship later this year. The first products built on the 65nm microarchitecture promise better performance, while saving energy, giving consumers a quieter and smaller mobile and desktop experience. By reducing power grab and occupying less space, Intel Core microarchitecture reduces costs and provides enhanced security, virtualization, and manageability for its users.

First seen in the Intel Core Duo processors and Mobile Intel Pentium processors, the new Intel Core microarchitecture is the foundation for delivering greater energy-efficient performance, incorporating existing Intel Pentium 4 processor technologies, such as wide data pathways and streaming instructions.

In the home, look for Intel Core microarchitecture to show up in higher-performing, quiet, low-power computer designs as well as in more sophisticated, user-friendly entertainment systems WiFi anyone? Business users are promised smaller machines, less cooling requirements and electrical demand in server data centers, and increased responsiveness, productivity, and energy efficiency across client and server platforms.

While the Core technology has been incorporated into products launching in Q2, Intel expects embedded Conroe processors to launch in the third quarter of 2006.

Dual-Core Low-Voltage Intel Xeon Processor
Look for Intel to continue its conservation kick by outfitting server, storage, and telecommunications equipment makers with a new tool for coaxing more performance out of space- and power-constrained environments. This first, low-voltage Intel Xeon processor combines dual-core technology with power management capabilities, helping to boost energy-efficient price-to-performance ratios, claiming two to four times the performance-per-watt of previous Intel Xeon processors and platforms. The energy-efficient performance of the Intel Xeon lets equipment manufacturers optimally balance processing capabilities with power and space constraints to help meet the demands or notoriously small, but powerful, devices like mobile phones, PDAs, and laptops.

With total dissipated power of 31 watts, the new low-voltage, dual-core Intel Xeon processor is ideal for deployments requiring high compute density and power optimization, including single- height (1U) chassis and blade servers, SAN and NAS solutions, and network infrastructure equipment. The new processor is specifically targeted toward handling multithreaded, multitasking applications, such as high-performance computing and financial services.

To accelerate time-to market for telecommunications equipment makers and OEMs, Intel plans to introduce the AdvancedTCA-compliant Intel NetStructure MPCBL0040 single-board computer. This high-density computer boasts two Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors, which equals four high-performance cores per computer. With the performance boost of the new dual-core processor, the MPCBL0040 is expected to serve far more transactions and subscribers per system than previous products. This high-density computer is aimed at applications where transaction and subscriber load can increase dramatically in a very short time, such as multimedia services, Internet protocol television, and wireless control plane applications.

Intel is also planning to offer a blade server solution powered by up to two of the new dual-core Intel Xeon processors for ultra-dense, low-power environments, where density is limited by power and cooling capabilities. The Intel Server Compute Blade SBXD62 will let server OEMs and resellers offer small- to medium- sized business customers a blade server platform to help reduce operational costs and extend IT resources through improved price/performance/watt ratios, operational efficiencies, deployment flexibility, and simplified management.

Dual-core Intel Xeon processor LV 2.0GHz and 1.66GHz are currently shipping. The Intel NetStructure MPCBL0040 single-board computer is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2006. The Intel Server Compute Blade SBXD62 is expected to ship in the second quarter.

Intel First With 65nm NOR Flash Memory Chips
In other IDF news, Intel revealed it is the first to sample NOR multilevel cell flash memory chips at 1GB density, using its advanced 65nm process technology. Intel's NOR Flash memory chips are used in devices such as cell phones to manage critical phone operations, handle personal information management data, and store photos, music and videos.

Intel's handset OEM customers will benefit from a common flash architecture that will simplify the migration from 90nm to 65nm process technology.

"With these offerings, Intel continues to lead in providing the industry's most advanced NOR flash memory for the mainstream handset market segment," said Brian Harrison, Intel vice president and general manager of the Flash Memory Group. "Our 65nm process technology will improve flash performance to enable the next generation of handsets that deliver new and enhanced capabilities for end-users."

Intel's first production of microprocessors built on 65nm technology started in the second half of 2005. The company is currently shipping mobile, desktop, server and embedded processors.

Samples will be available to customers late in the second quarter of 2006.

Nicole Freeman has extensive experience with both technology orient online and print publications. She is currently an editor for the AlwaysOn Network (www.alwayson-network.com). Her past experience includes positions as managing editor for Embedded System Programming magazine, Software Development magazine and several other high-tech books.