Intel’s 2009 Roadmap: Add More Cores, Decrease Manufacturing Size and Invest in Fab/R&D

Submitted by lalit on February 11, 2009 - 2:57pm.

This week Intel has been talking about upcoming processor technologies at ISSCC in San Francisco. At the event, Intel showcased its first 8-core processor prototype designed for servers. The new Nehalem 8-core processor will join the Xeon family later this year and feature 16-thread and 64-bit processing.

Intel also talked about its plans to salvage usable part from a defective chip by disabling the core or cache region, which is found defective. So, Intel will sell six-core processor that was originally designed to be a 8-core processor but Intel disabled two defective cores in the manufacturing process. Intel claims that by disabling the defective parts of the chips in manufacturing process the defective part won’t draw power or leak current. This method will not only decrease low yield for new technology but also reduce resource wastage.

In 2009, Intel will be moving its complete processor lineup to Nehalem architecture and later in fourth quarter it will introduce the 32nm Westmere processor lineup for desktops and laptops. At ISSCC, Intel demoed the first 32nm working processor in both laptop and desktop system. The new 32nm process will allow Intel to increase performance, decrease core size and introduce new multi-chip package with graphics integrate in the processor. The 32nm process uses the second-generation High-k+ metal gate transistor, immersion lithography, 9 cooper + low-k interconnect layer and is 70 percent smaller than 45nm generation.

The 45nm Nehalem processer lineup for 2009 will include Bloomfiled (quad-core) and Lynnfield (quad-core) processors for desktops, Clarksfiled (quad-core) processors for laptops and Nehalem-EX (8-core), Nehalem-EP (four-core) and Lynnfield (four-core) processors for servers. The 32nm Westmere processors that will be introduced in Q4 2009 will include Gulftown (six-core) and Clarkdale (dual-core) processors for desktop, Arrandale (dual-core) processors for laptops and Clarkdale (dual-core) processors for servers.

Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini said on Tuesday that the company would be investing $7 billion in 2009-10 on 32nm manufacturing technology. Intel will use the investment to shift to a new manufacturing process by upgrading four of its existing fabs. Intel hopes that this move will keep it a step ahead of rivals in processor manufacturing, as most companies are planning a move to 32nm process technology in 2010-11 time frame.

The move to 32nm manufacturing technology will definitely strengthen Intel’s hold on x86 processor market. Intel will be more than one year ahead of its nearest rival AMD in producing smaller, more powerful and energy efficient 32nm processors.