45nm on track for 2007

Reuters reports Intel is manufacturing prototypes of its upcoming Penryn processor core. Penryn is the upcoming 45nm die shrink of Intel’s Core 2 architecture. Intel first demonstrated its 45nm fabrication capabilities at the D1D facility in Oregon. Current Penryn prototypes are being produced at Intel’s Oregon factories as well, though a different facility.

In addition to the 45nm die shrink, Penryn is expected to introduce a couple more manufacturing process changes. These changes include shifting away from Silicon Dioxide gate dielectrics to High-k dielectrics. The gate electrodes will also be revamped with metal gates instead of the Polysilicon derivatives currently used.

Intel is currently ontrack to introduce Penryn core processors in the second half of 2007. As Penryn is currently in its prototype stages Intel’s director of process architecture and integration, Mark Bohr stated: "We are processing the first samples of the Penryn design. These samples will go back to the design team to determine if design is working as expected."
Nevertheless, Intel is expected to ship 45nm products very soon after AMD makes its final transition to 65nm. Intel is also expected to open up new 45nm production fabs within the next 16 months. Expect Penryn to arrive in 2007 after Intel refreshes its current Conroe based product lineup. Penryn will also be the last product based on Intel’s Core architecture.

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