Intel releases its new CPU architecture with 16 new processors

Intel's new Penryn architecture snagged more than a few headlines this year, but today finally marks the launch date for the world's first 45nm processor. The launch consists of 16 new processors for the server and high-end desktop market.

Penryn is the follow-up optical shrink to Intel's 65nm Conroe architecture. While the core architecture of Penryn remains essentially the same as Conroe, Intel's desktop variant of Core 2, the smaller transistors yield more features and cache. Penryn comes with 6MB of L2 cache, whereas Conroe only had a maximum of 4MB.

New to Penryn is the SSE4 instruction set.  These new instructions will yield improved operation times for many CPU-intensive applications like rendering and encoding, though very few applications can take advantage of these optimizations. yet. 

Additional tweaks to the CPU frequency dividers have also been refined with Penryn, though most users will not notice a difference between equivalently clocked Conroe processors for general computing.

However, with the new 45nm process node, Intel can increase the frequency considerably while also decreasing the thermal envelope -- which in turn leads to faster processors.

15 of the new processors launched are Xeons and targeted directly at the server market. Prices of the new Xeons range from $177 all the way to $1,279. Although Intel is aiming for immediate availabily, distributors tell DailyTech that certain models will not reach retail availability for another 45 days.

Intel today only launched one Penryn processor for desktops, the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650. The Core 2 Extreme is a high-end, quad-core desktop processor. Intel guidance claims the retail price of the new processor at $999.

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