03:19 AM

Intel's new chip families on track

Intel's new processor families are on track to deliver faster processors without consuming more power. The Penryn family will be released this year and the Nehalam family is due next year, The New York Times reports.

The chips will have wires as thin as 45 nanometers, a scale at which 2,000 transistors will fit in the width of a human hair. The resulting chips will have as many as 820 million transistors, making it possible for Intel’s designers to add parallel computing, energy management and graphics to the computing engines that are the mainstay of its business.

This news puts Intel - which has been playing catch-up on energy efficiency and parallel computing - ahead of release schedules for AMD and IBM, which have said they'll release 45-nanometer chips in mid-2008.

AMD's Barcelona is due out in late 2007, based on 65-nanometer technology with four cores. On Wednesday, AMD said Intel won't catch up with them until Nehama comes out in '08.

Pat Gelsinger described Intel’s approach as a “tick-tock” strategy in which it would make incremental changes with the Penryn processors and then more sweeping design changes with the Nehalam chips. The Nehalam chips will have as many as eight or more processing cores, as well as the potential for built-in graphics and memory control processing and networking.

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