Intel introduced its 2010 Intel Core Processor family at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 7, highlighting the integration of graphics onto the processor and Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which automatically accelerates a PC's performance based on workload. The offerings detailed during the company's presentation included the new Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 processors; the Intel 5 Series Chipset; and the Intel Centrino Wi-Fi and WiMax adapters.
The processors are built on Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture and will be produced thanks to the company's 32-nanometer manufacturing process, in which the company made a $7 billion investment in early 2009. The 32-nm process includes Intel's second-generation high-k metal gate transistors, which theoretically boost both speed and energy efficiency.
The Intel 5 Series Chipset is the company's first single-chip solution.
"We've always built products in the middle of recessions that will encourage business growth afterward," Sean Maloney, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, told assembled media at Intel's blue-lit booth on the CES floor. "With the all-new 2010 core family, we bring graphics onto the processor package, so we get a really good performance pop" as well as boosted energy efficiency.
Intel HD Graphics supports high-definition (HD) video playback, delivers multichannel Dolby TrueHD and DTS Premium Suite home theater audio, and supports gaming without the need for an add-in video card.
Maloney also called out Intel's Turbo Boost Technology, available in the Intel Core i7 and i5 processor. "Turbo is something we're very proud of," he said. "It's the first time in the mainstream computer industry that we're dynamically changing the frequency based on the workload. If you have a Word document and a PowerPoint, the frequency can pop up, which has an effect on how the machine reacts and feels under your fingertips."
Intel Hyper-Threading Technology available in the Intel Core i7, i3 and i5 processors allows for what the company is calling smart multitasking. "We have the ability to dispatch multiple tasks," Maloney said. "If you look at your tasks running in the background, there's always a whole lot of stuff running back there that you didn't know about. By introducing hyperthreading, we're allowing more tasks to be dispatched."
Intel predicts that more than 400 laptop and desktop PC designs will eventually leverage offerings from the 2010 Intel Core Processor family. In addition, Intel is planning 12 new processors for the embedded market.
"We have something in the range of 200 different designs using our technology for embedded stuff," Maloney said. "We're seeing a lot of action going on in retail; some 98 percent of ATMs are based around existing Core or Pentium technologies, and we're seeing a surge of people wanting to put facial recognition in ATMs." Retailers have also apparently expressed interest in integrating fast-booting and energy-efficient Intel embedded technology into checkouts, which are usually left on by cashiers and thus burn unnecessary electricity.
As Intel gears up to mass-produce processors using its 32-nanometer manufacturing capacity, Maloney took a moment to cite some fundamental advances in the processor-manufacturing industry. "Since the 4004," he said, referring to Intel's first microprocessor, introduced in 1971, "we've shrunk the transistor by about 100,000 times. If we hadn't shrunk the transistor ... the processor we're introducing today would have been the size of Manhattan and required 26 nuclear power plants.
"Fortunately," he concluded dryly, "Moore's Law is alive and well. What you're looking at is the world's most advanced manufacturing technology."
Intel CEO Paul Otellini is scheduled to give his CES keynote address at 4:30 PST Jan. 7 at the Las Vegas Hilton.