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The first official die shot of "Penryn"

Intel's high-k, metal gate transistors replace the silicon-based elements of the transistor with hafnium and metal composites
Intel confirms new details on "Penryn" family: SSE4, high-k dielectrics, metal gate transistors

A little more than six months ago we wrote an editorial about Intel's future technology after Core 2 Duo, titled "Life After Conroe."  Life after Conroe inches closer, but, in the meantime, more details on the architecture are available today.

DailyTech had the opportunity to chat with Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow, and Steve Smith, Intel Vice President DEG Group Operations, about the upcoming CPU design.

The primary focus of Intel's next-generation process technology is PenrynPenryn is the specific codename a 45nm mobile shrink of the Conroe core, but the codename may also be used to describe the entire product family.  Early last year Intel announced it would optically shrink to the next process node every two years.  Staggered one year later, the company would also announce a new microarchitecture.  This philosophy of shrink followed by architecture revision will undergo its first real milestone with the node shrink from 65nm to 45nm Penryn.  One year after the 45nm Penryn shrink, Intel is also expected to announce its next-generation microarchitecture successor, Nehalem

Intel claims the upcoming Penryn will fit 410 million transistors for the dual-core model, and 820 million transistors for the quad-core variants -- dual-core Conroe utilizes just 298 million transistors.  Intel's 45nm SRAM shuttle chip, announced last year, had a little over 1 billion transistors and fit on a 119mm^2 package.  However, the initial Penryn quad-core processors will use a multi-die packaging, so it's realistic to expect only 410 million transistors per die at launch.

The optical shrink allows the engineers to boost clock speed, but the additional real estate means the company can put more logic on the processor as well. "Most of that transistor savings is spent on increasing the cache over Core 2" added Smith.

Conroe added additional SSE instructions at launch, but Intel claimed at Fall IDF 2006 that SSE4 was specifically reserved for Nehalem.  Intel's guidance for Penryn claims the family will feature "New Intel SSE4 instructions expand capabilities and performance for media/HPC applications."

When asked about the effects of SSE4 on Penryn, Smith responded to DailyTech claiming "We're seeing excellent double digit performance [percentage] gains on multimedia applications."

Penryn is still not without its mysteries; a primary concern for enthusiasts is motherboard and socket support.  Penryn will launch on Socket 775 -- meaning existing motherboards can physically harbor the new CPU,  but electrically might not. "Motherboard developers will have to make some minor changes to support [Penryn]. We can't guarantee that a person could just plug the chip into every motherboard on the market today."  However, Smith also claimed the Penryn boot test that grabbed so many headlines last week occurred on unmodified hardware that included a notebook, several desktop motherboards and several server motherboards.

The lithography process for Penryn, dubbed P1266, is not just a shrink from 65nm to 45nm.  Perhaps the most significant advance on P1266 is the use of high-k dielectrics and metal gate transistors.  In a nutshell, the polysilicon gate used on transistors today is replaced with a metal layer and the silicon dioxide dielectric that sits between the substrate and the transistor is replaced by a high-k dielectric. 

Intel's push for high-k dielectrics and metal gate transistors may be more significant than the node shrink.  Intel's guidance documentation claims with the new high-k dielectric, metal gate transistors offer a 20% increase in current, which can translate to a 20% increase in performance.  When the new transistor technologies run at the same current and frequencies as Core 2 Duo processors today, translates to a 5-fold reduction in source-drain leakage and a 10-fold reduction in dielectric leakage.

"The implementation of high-k and metal gate materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicongate MOS transistors in the late 1960s" claims Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder attributed with coining "Moore's Law."

Intel would not reveal the materials used in its metal gate technology, though Smith announced that the dielectric is hafnium based.  Hafnium dioxide has been the leading candidate to replace silicon oxide inside academia for years.  A different material is used for PMOS and NMOS gates.

Intel's lithography roadmap no longer ends at P1268, the 32nm node.  Earlier today Intel revealed its 22nm node, dubbed 1270, slated for first production in 2011. 

Smith closed our conversation with "In 2008, we'll have Nehalem."

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RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/27/2007 6:53:57 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder what's AMD's response to this?

It's this:
"IBM today announced it has developed a long-sought improvement to the transistor - the tiny on/off switch that serves as the basic building block of virtually all microchips made today...Working with AMD and its other development partners Sony and Toshiba, the company has found a way to construct a critical part of the transistor with a new material, clearing a path toward chip circuitry that is smaller, faster and more power-efficient than previously thought possible...The technology, called "high-k metal gate," substitutes a new material into a critical portion of the transistor that controls its primary on/off switching function. The material provides superior electrical properties compared to its predecessor, enhancing the transistor's function while also allowing the size of the transistor to be shrunk beyond limits being reached today"

Deja Vu all over again...

"IBM has inserted the technology into its state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing line in East Fishkill, NY and will apply it to products with chip circuits as small as 45 nanometers (billionths of a meter) starting in 2008"

RE: AMD's response
By penter on 1/27/2007 8:23:57 AM , Rating: 2
Mayby it is more a response of intel to amd.
IBM and AMD have allready developped something similar for 45nm. Allthough it used to be called ultra-low-k interconnect dielectrics. Too bad they are only going to use it in 2008.


RE: AMD's response
By DallasTexas on 1/27/2007 9:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
Do you feel pretty confident about AMD's response (OK, riding on IBM's coat tails) to this breakthrough advance in lithography?

It seems you were pretty confident back about a year ago and it did not quite pan out..

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/27/2007 11:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
Do you feel pretty confident about AMD's response (OK, riding on IBM's coat tails) to this breakthrough advance in lithography?

Ummm...I just posted a news story.
I have no idea where you get a question of confidence from.

It seems you were pretty confident back about a year ago and it did not quite pan out..

If you want to dispute the news story by pointing out that I make mistakes, let me help you out...
I make a lot of mistakes! :)
This was a good example of ideas that did not pan out completely...but let's look at what I actually said:

"1. most people are dubious that the 4-issue core (which is their main advantage) will be able to be utilized to it's full extent"

Well, that's quite true...I don't know of an OS/app mix that actually allows C2D to retire 4 issues/clock...certainly nothing very common.

"2. Realise that in the server sector, the FSB will still be a bottleneck"

That is also true as is evidenced by Opteron's superior scalability over Cloverton...

"Here is a first indication that quad core Xeon does not scale as well as the other systems. Two 2.4GHz Opteron 880 processors are as fast as one Xeon 5345, but four Opterons outperform the dual quad core Xeon by 16%. In other words, the quad Opteron system scales 31% better than the Xeon system"

"3. Note that while AMD has made only modest gains in the mobile sector (from ~3% to ~15% in the last year), the Turion X2 being released in April will use DDR2 and use the new SiGe process, thus decreasing it's power usage to at least that of Yonah (and it will be 64 bit compared to Yonah's 32 bit). "

This is part of where it fell down...while AMD has continued to gain marketshare in mobile every quarter, I have a feeling that the new SiGe process had problems and wasn't used (I think this mainly due to the lack of overclockability).
It is possible we will see it in Barcelona, but who knows?

"4. Also note that 64 bit Vista is due for Gold release in October"

Let's not even go there...

"5. The new SiGe process will allow AMD's desktop parts to exceed 3 GHz this year, even at 90nm
6. AMD's 65nm parts will start to ship in Q3/Q4"

Oops...though the 65nm certainly shipped on time, SiGe has yet to show itself.

"Intel may come close to catching up, but they won't take the crown again until well into 2007...if at all"

So who knew that C2D would be so good? It's like all of those people here who say that a 40% improvement over Cloverton is impossible, and those who think it's inevitable...this post should be a lesson to you guys!
Skepticism is good for everything.

RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/27/2007 10:14:53 PM , Rating: 3
After ALL this, SUN a long time partner of AMD switches over to INTEL.

The realities of the market speak for themselves.

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 5:03:38 AM , Rating: 1
SUN a long time partner of AMD switches over to INTEL

Not really...they are ADDING Intel because they finally have a worthy processer.
Funny how people keep missing that...:)

RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/28/2007 7:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not really-its much more than simple worthy processor,
its a long term agreement that goes very far ,
read this to get an idea of what it is about.
Then you will notice AMD is slowly to be put aside- A downgraded relationship.


Sun(SUNW) And Intel(INTC) Announce Landmark Agreement
Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and Intel Corporation today announced a broad strategic alliance centered on Intel's endorsement of the Solaris Operating System (OS) and Sun's commitment to deliver a comprehensive family of enterprise and telecommunications servers and workstations based on Intel Xeon processors. The scope of the agreement spans Solaris, Java and NetBeans software and Intel Xeon microprocessors, as well as other Intel and Sun enterprise-class technologies. The alliance also includes joint engineering, design and marketing efforts.

As part of today's announcement, Intel is embracing Solaris as a mainstream OS and the enterprise class, mission critical UNIX OS for Intel Xeon processor-based servers. Intel also endorses Sun's Solaris, Java and NetBeans products and will actively support the OpenSolaris and open Java communities from which they continue to evolve.

Sun is committed to leading on performance and energy efficiency in its server product line. After a comprehensive evaluation of industry platform solutions, Sun has decided to complement its current offerings with platforms based on Intel Architecture optimized for Solaris beginning in the first half of 2007. Sun believes Intel's model of alternating new microarchitectures with new process technologies on an annual basis will offer outstanding building blocks for Sun's customers.

Sun plans to deliver a comprehensive family of Intel-based systems with uni-, dual- and multi-processor based servers and workstations supporting Solaris, Windows and Linux. Intel and Sun will also collaborate around greater than four processor scale-up systems optimized for the Solaris OS.

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 7:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
Then you will notice AMD is slowly to be put aside- A downgraded relationship

Are you kidding?
They are just releasing even newer Opteron products!

SANTA CLARA, Calif. January 9, 2007 Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today announced the fastest blade server on the planet, in addition to the first subscription service that enables blade customers to keep their datacenters at peak performance and efficiency at half the cost of traditional acquisition methods. Posting three new performance world records, the Sun Blade X8420 server module and the Sun Refresh Service set a new standard for 4-socket servers, especially when combined with the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS), the most advanced operating system on the planet

The only reason for the Sun/Intel deal is to expand their vendors (the same as IBM, Dell, and HP have).
It also gets Intel on board with Solaris...
I think you're looking at this through Blue coloured glasses...

RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/28/2007 9:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Then you will notice AMD is slowly to be put aside- A downgraded relationship

You will see/read on this, (in future )about this.
For now I put it on hold.

In the mean time some google news for you-

Super-secretive Google had its insides exposed this week by Intel's amateur blogger and server chief Pat Gelsinger. The executive claims that Intel's server division has won back Google's business from AMD. IBM, HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems and Rackable must find this revelation curious.

Intel's white box server business receives little attention. The chip maker crafts a few different types of systems and will ship them to interested parties. It tends, however, to avoid stealing significant sales from its largest customers.

On the Google front, Intel went out of its way to steal such business. It produced a bespoke server line full of low-power, low-cost components that matched Google's demanding specifications.

Intel's server gurus "have been maniacal as we designed a unique board for them, developing a unique memory module with them, working every angle of the cost equation and engaging with our sales teams to get the business," Gelsinger wrote on his internal Intel blog, according to one of CNET's few non-Second Life reports.

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 10:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
crystal, you really have to stop taking everything Gelsinger writes as Gospel...
For example, just 2 days after the article you reprinted was posted, this was posted:

"Rumors of a full-on switch from AMD to Intel chips have forced Google to emerge from its warm, creepy secrecy cocoon. Contrary to claims from Intel, Google has not experienced Xeonmania and elevated Intel to favored supplier status. Rather, it's just got a few Xeons laying around its data centers"

RE: AMD's response
By cheetah2k on 1/29/07, Rating: 0
RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/29/2007 2:58:31 AM , Rating: 2
Great response-I like it -"ITS ORIGINAL"
A spontanous response I think.

See this Vedeo-
"Getting a look at Intel’s new 45nm fab"

The second one(vedeo)is more interesting.

I had this,but Apple had it chopped out-really fast.

Leaked: Screenshots of OS X Leopard Terminal, Parental Controls, More

I had posted it on DT few days ago.

Apple Under Fire for Ambiguous Accounting Claims
Tuan Nguyen (Blog) - January 25, 2007 8:27 AM

"The Apple show"

RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/29/2007 3:08:03 AM , Rating: 2
You are right-Accepted.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini sits on their board(Google) so
such leaks come under intense scrutiny.

RE: AMD's response
By crystal clear on 1/28/2007 10:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
On Friday, Bank of American Equity Research analyst Sumit Dhanda wrote in a note to clients that his checks within the supply-chain in the technology industry indicated that Sun would start using Intel chips in servers that would be available to customers in late 2007.

"Development is currently taking place at the engineering level, with expectations for volume production sometime in late 2007," Dhanda wrote.,1895,2086186,

RE: AMD's response
By Khato on 1/27/2007 3:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
I find it somewhat sad that IBM is touting this like it's some new innovation that they got to first. I do wonder how well their planned integration into their 45nm process will go though. Just because Intel was able to get their first product for the 45nm node to work on the first stepping doesn't mean it's easy - Intel had first high-k gate dielectric transistors in lab in Nov '03, so process engineers have had plenty of time to tweak it into production.

One curiosity in that press release, nothing is mentioned about the previously touted low-k interconnect dielectrics and immersion lithography. Would be rather humorous if there were some incompatibility between the high-k gate dielectric/gate metal and the immersion lithography process.

RE: AMD's response
By JackPack on 1/27/2007 4:14:00 PM , Rating: 4
Based on the timing of the news, IBM is basically saying "Me too! Me too!"

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/07, Rating: -1
RE: AMD's response
By Khato on 1/28/2007 2:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Ayup, they're three completely different technologies, which is why I'm ever very careful to label the high-k as gate dielectric and low-k as interconnect dielectric. There shouldn't be any problem combining the two different dielectrics seeing as how they'd have limited contact points. But the gate metal might not like the low-k interconnect dielectric, or water - highly improbable, but it would be humorous.

Heh, Intel behind again? I guess if you go back far enough, IBM had a manufacturing technology lead. I somewhat doubt that there's much difference between the respective low-k interconnect dielectrics, while Intel's high-k dielectric is most probably quite superior.

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 6:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
There shouldn't be any problem combining the two different dielectrics seeing as how they'd have limited contact points

That's not my point...I am dubious that AMD will have both processes ready together in time for 45nm production and still have good yields.

RE: AMD's response
By ChipDude on 1/27/2007 11:48:07 PM , Rating: 3
Me Too Me Too, Me toooooooo...

If IBM had anything to annouce they would have annouced in December at IEDM. IBM has a long track record of beating its chest every December trying to prove they are still the leader in silicon. Sad fact is they have one fab making game chips and CPUs to the tune of 20-50 million units.

TI, TSMC, Samsung, and INTEL are for more relevant in silicon then IBM is anymore

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 5:21:29 AM , Rating: 1
If IBM had anything to annouce they would have annouced in December at IEDM

You mean like Intel's, wait.
Fact is that AMD had 2 presentations at IEDM on HK/MG...and that development is a partnership with IBM.

Sad fact is they have one fab making game chips and CPUs to the tune of 20-50 million units

Well thank goodness they stopped with those pesky Power chips for servers...leading all benchmarks can be tiring. No, wait...they didn't!
You should also note the fact that they have production rights at Fab 36 and Fab 30/38. This was part of the original deal.

RE: AMD's response
By Khato on 1/28/2007 2:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
You mean like Intel's, wait.

So now Intel needs to tout it's prior technological achievements at every conference in order to keep in the lead? I would have thought that a few announcements soon after the fact would be enough, such as those listed at the bottom here:

RE: AMD's response
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 6:21:04 PM , Rating: 1
So now Intel needs to tout it's prior technological achievements at every conference in order to keep in the lead?

No, I think that announcing (or not) at IEDM means absolutely nothing...that was my point!

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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