Intel's Penryn Production Looks on Schedule

Workstation announcements from HP and Lenovo offer additional details on the new quad-core Xeon 5400 series, code-named Harpertown.

It appears Intel is ready to crank out its 45-nanometer processors.

Although the Santa Clara, Calif., chip giant will not officially release the complete details of its Penryn family of 45-nanometer products until Nov. 12, a pair of announcements from Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard indicate that Intel is ready to start producing these chips in large volumes.

These developments seem to show that Intel is ready to get new products into the hands of customers in time for the holiday seasons for consumers and in front of corporate buyers for when new IT budgets are approved for 2008.

"Intel has been in production the last couple of months and they are ready to crank these chips out," said Jim McGregor, a research director at the InStat Group. "In the last 18 months, Intel has shown that they are either on schedule or ahead of schedule in terms of their manufacturing. Outside of some of the problems they had with their 90-nanometer line, they have just been cranking."

The workstations models announced by Lenovo and HP also show some additional details of the Penryn chips that Intel has not yet confirmed. For example, both OEMs are offering PCs that will use dual-core Xeon 5200 series processors based on the new 45-nanometer process and formally code-named Wolfdale DP.


These dual core models will offer clock speeds up to 3.33GHz, L2 caches of 6MB and a front side bus—that part of the design that allows data to be shuffled in and out of the processor—of 1333MHz.

The workstation announcements also offers some additional details on the new quad-core Xeon 5400 series, which had gone by the code name Harpertown. These models will have clock speeds ranging from 2.0GHz to 3.16GHz and all will have a total of 12MB of L2 cache and a FSB of 1333MHz.

In the months leading up to the release of the Penryn line, Intel has said that it would introduce processors for servers, workstation and high-end desktops first and then move to offers chips for mainstream and business desktops as well as laptops by the middle of 2008. Other details, such as the thermal envelopes for these 45-nanometer chips, have not been released.

In order to meet demand for the processors, Intel announced in October that its $3 billion manufacturing facility in Chandler, Ariz., known as Fab 32, has already begun mass producing the first round of 45-nanometer microprocessors.


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