Intel to upgrade Nehalem core to span mobile to server

Intel will unveil details behind its latest benchmark processor at next week’s International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco and discuss some of the innovations it plans to introduce over the next five years.

Pride of place goes to the latest implementation of the incoming Nehalem architecture, a Xeon family microprocessor for the enterprise market with 2.3 billion transistors, eight cores and 16 threads. However, it will be accompanied by disclosures on a modified version of the Nehalem that Intel claims will span not just the desktop and server markets but the mobile space. Much attention here is likely to fall upon how Intel resolves the different power requirements for those spaces.

Looking to the future, Intel will preview technologies that are aimed at helping its expansion into both the mobile device and wireless markets.

One of its 15 papers will describe how the company has ported single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) techniques for high-end graphics processing to ultra low voltages.

Intel will detail power gating, power management and ultra-low voltage (ULV) techniques that it has used to overcome inherent obstacles to voltage reductions for SIMD and cut the operational level from 1.3V to 0.23V. The technique could allow netbooks and other mobile Internet devices to handle video and other media playback and consume less battery energy than current implementations.

In the gigabit wireless space, Intel has anticipated opportunities in the 60GHz spectrum by developing an energy efficient analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) with a sampling speed of 2.5Gsample/s. The ADC is implemented in 45nm CMOS and has 7bit accuracy. It has been developed using a multicore-like design strategy that is based on many low-speed ADCs operating in parallel, and synchronised using digital techniques to be discussed in San Francisco.

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