Say hello to Nehalem
Where Penryn was Intel's move to increased power efficiency, Nehalem, set to debut in the latter half of 2008, will introduce a brand new architecture. This pattern of shrinking the die one year and then revamping the core architecture the next is how Intel chip development will proceed, at least under its currently stated release plan. Figure 2009 will feature more power-efficient, 32nm process Nehalem-equivalent chips(code-named Westmere), while 2010 will feature a new chip architecture design(code-named Gesher), and so on.
Intel's "tick-tock" cadence model
Intel has settled on an alternating schedule of shrinking the size of its chips with one release ("tick") while revamping the chips' architecture with the next release ("tock"). A tick-tock cycle will occur every two years.
Tick: Shrink of previous microarchitecture
|Tock: New architecture ||65nm ||Core 2 Duo |
|Tick: Shrink of previous microarchitecture ||45nm ||Penryn ||2007 |
|Tock: New architecture ||45nm ||Nehalem |
|Tick: Shrink of previous microarchitecture ||32nm ||Westmere ||2009 |
|Tock: New architecture ||32nm ||Gesher |
Though little is known about Nehalem at this point, multiple sources contend Intel will drop the front-side bus altogether and link the CPU to other components on the board via Common System Interface, a next-generation interconnect technology designed to compete with AMD's HyperTransport.
AMD's projections are a bit murkier. We have a feeling we'll see at least a 45-nanometer Opteron before the end of 2008, if not a full-fledged 45nm, HyperTransport 3.0 Athlon desktop processor.
In the realm of wild speculation, we suspect Intel will incorporate the Intel WiMax Connection 2300
into its mobile platform in 2008. The technology, which combines WiMax(802.16e-2005), 802.11n Wi-Fi, and high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) 3G capabilities on a single chipset, would allow even smaller laptops and UMPCs to incorporate multiple next-generation wireless connections. At this point, Intel will only commit to releasing WiMax Connection 2300 cards in early 2008, but our money says that if WiMax takes off, we'll see the chipset integrated into Intel's mobile platform before the end of the year.