Quicker Delivery of Chips

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-04-27 Print this article Print

Conroe, which will become the heart of Intels new vPro business desktop platforms, and Woodcrest, for servers, also promise double-digit reductions in power consumption, addressing business concerns about data center power. Admitting that Intel kept Netburst, the architecture behind its speed-fueled Pentium 4, around for too long, Otellini said Intel has also moved to ensure that it will roll out new chips more quickly in the future.
It will align the arrival of new chip architecture designs, which will spawn new generations of its PC and server chips, with its manufacturing process technology upgrades, so that the two will arrive together, once every two years.
The decision marks a significant change in that Intel will roll out all new products lines more often, cutting down on the potential that they might stagnate. Netburst, for its part, has been the basis of its desktop and server chips since late in 2000. Otellini, for the first time, offered code-names for Intels forthcoming chip architectures. Nehalem will arrive in 2008, along with 45-nanometer manufacturing, while Gesher will come in 2010 with 32-nanometer manufacturing. Intels vPro desktop PCs will proactively combat malware. Click here to read more. It will intersperse the new architectures with updates known as shrinks. Shrinks will allow Core Microarchitecture, which was introduced with the 65-nanometer manufacturing processor, to transition to 45 nanometers in a shrink it has called Penryn. The nanometer figures refer to the size of the features inside a chip, which are generally made smaller with each transition, allowing a chip maker to add more transistors. Generally, increasing transistor counts once meant higher clock speeds. But, in the future, it will allow for increases in the number of processor cores a given chip can contain. Intel will also use its resources around the work to target new markets. The company believes that emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, and the UMPC (ultramobile PC) offer the potential for substantial growth in the future. The company has been working on sub-$400 PCs for so-called emerging markets as well as creating a chip roadmap for UMPCs. The first such device will arrive in the United States next week with the May 1 launch of Samsungs Q1, which uses a low-power Intel processor. Where Intel intends to make businesses like its Digital Enterprise Group, which is responsible for desktop and server platforms, more nimble by delivering new products more quickly, it "will deal with our nonperforming businesses" as well, Otellini said. Later, in a question and answer session, he said that it will look closely at "anything with a bracket on it," referring to company earnings reports which show losses in parentheses. The company will also evaluate its capital expenditures, its per-unit manufacturing costs, and will take stock of employee productivity in all areas, Otellini said. "I can tell you in this project that you have the full commitment of the Intel management team to make Intel a different kind of company," Otellini said. Otellini said that Intels current plan is to offer more details on the results of its review with its third-quarter earnings report. The results of the evaluation arent likely to fully unfold until 2007, he said. Editors Note: This story was updated to include more information and comments from Intel about its new business plan. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET News.com, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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