Intel's aggressive drive to 32nm has many reconsidering their purchasing plans over the next year.
All Westmere chips will feature higher performance and lower power consumption. This is made possible through the use of fourth generation strained silicon and second generation high-k/metal gate technology, referring to the use of a High-k gate dielectric and a metal gate electrode.
Intel is reporting at least a 22 percent performance increase clock for clock over their 45nm process, and there are still many steppings to go before they go to market. Westmere also has seven new instructions, designed for accelerating encryption and decryption algorithms. All Nahalem and Westmere based processors will use DDR3 exclusively.
The first Westmere chips will be codenamed Clarkdale, featuring two 32nm logical processors paired with a graphics core and an integrated memory controller built on a 45nm line. By using "Multi-Chip Packaging", Intel will be able to minimize their losses from defective chips on a maturing manufacturing line. Arrandale is the mobile variant, with additional power saving technology for laptops.
Gulftown is the successor to the Nehalem-based Core i7 and is due in the middle of 2010. Gulftown has six cores, but is capable of efficiently handling twelve threads at once, thanks to its next generation Hyper-Threading. It will use the X58 chipset due to the LGA-1366 socket, but there are rumors of a newer version coming in 2010 that will feature support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s.
DailyTech has received information that Core i5 Lynnfield and Clarksfield CPUs might be replaced by quad core Westmere variants in the middle of 2010. Intel refuses to comment on unannounced products, although they did state that "additional 32nm products will follow in 2010".
Right now, Intel is focusing on ramping up production of Clarkdale and Arrandale for the fourth quarter of this year. Fab D1D, Intel's manufacturing research factory in Hilsboro, Oregon, is already outfitted with 32nm equipment and will begin commercial production in Q4. Fab D1C and AFO (Aloha Factory Operations), in Oregon as well, will also ramp up in the fourth quarter of this year.
Intel's "Megafab", Fab 32 in Chandler, Arizona, will start 32nm production in early 2010, followed by Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Other fabs may follow to meet demand.