At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference later this month, Intel engineers will detail 15 new technical papers that will deal with a range of issues, including an in-depth look at Intel's Nehalem architecture as well as the chip maker's plans for new types of system-on-a-chip processors for a range of new products. Intel also plans to detail its efforts at improving wireless technology and graphics at the chip level.
is planning to use an upcoming technical conference to offer an
in-depth look at its Nehalem microarchitecture
and offer details about how
the chip giant plans to develop a new
type of systems-on-a-chip processors
for products ranging from
handset devices to server systems.
In addition to these processor
developments, Intel engineers plans to detail new techniques that will
integrate more wireless technologies, including WWAN (wireless WAN) and WLAN
(wireless LAN), onto the silicon die itself in order to boost the ability to
send and receive data from a number of different mobile devices.
Finally, Intel is expected to
detail its efforts at integrating new graphics technologies within its
All together, Intel engineers plan
to discuss 15 different technical papers at the 2009 International Solid-State
Circuits Conference, which starts Feb. 8 in San Francisco. Intel, along with
other chip companies such as Advanced
and IBM, typically use this show to highlight future chip
developments and expand on their future processor road map.
In terms of Nehalem, Intel
engineers will not break any new ground at this year's conference, but Mark
Bohr, an Intel senior fellow, plans to discuss additional details about several
upcoming Xeon processors that are based on this new microarchitecture.
chip, now called Nehalem-EX, is built on the Intel's 45-nanometer
and contains 2.3 billion transistors. The Nehalem-EX
processor also contains eight processing cores with each core using two
instructional threads for a total of 16 threads. Intel executives first
described the Nehalem-EX chip at the company's Developer Forum and it will hit
the high-end server market later this year.
Other Intel papers will describe
future Nehalem-based processors for other types of servers, desktops and
laptops. Intel is expected to release new chips for these markets in the coming
However, Bohr also plans to focus
some time on how Intel is conceiving a new generation of SOC processors that
will pack even more technologies into a single processor or die package.
These developments, Bohr said, will allow
Intel to keep pace with Moore's law, which states that computer processing
power doubles every 18 months. In addition, these new types of SOC processors
can lead to the development of new types of devices, including MIDS (mobile
Internet devices), as well as laptops, server systems and different types of
The starting point for this future
vision is Nehalem and Intel's 45-nm manufacturing, which allowed Intel to
integrate the memory controller onto the processor for the first time with
these new chips. (AMD has used an integrated memory controller with its Opteron
processors for a number of years.)
From here, Bohr sees a future where
more and more components are placed within the die or right onto the processor
itself. Intel is calling these chips "smart SOCs."
"Chips are much more than just
digital logic," said Bohr before the conference. "They are really complex
systems on a chip that involve digital logic, memory circuits, analog circuits,
on die sensors and adaptive circuits... In the future, SOC products will merge
more and more of these systems components onto a single chip or at least within
a single package."
In addition to these various
components, Intel is looking to build various wireless technology capabilities
into the processors themselves. This is another critical step to developing the
smart SOCs that Bohr plans on detailing at the show.
The first obstacle that Intel
engineers plan to overcome is cleaning up the harmonics to allow for clearer
and stronger wireless signals. Another Intel paper describes a chip component that
allows for gigabit wireless, which will allow devices to transmit and receive data
much faster and across greater distances. When these new types of chip
technologies are perfected, Intel believes that it can create devices that can
support Wi-Fi, WiMax, 3G and Bluetooth.
These types of technologies also
show that Intel is increasingly interested in moving its x86 processor
technology out of the traditional PC market and into more handset devices such
as MIDs, cell phones and smartphones.
A final set of papers deals with
improving graphics within the silicon, especially when it comes to smaller
devices. The goal here is to boost performance, while reducing the amount of
power the graphics use.
However, Intel engineers pointed out
that this research is not being developed into a specific processor or SOC chip
at this time.