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Intel Touts Its Power Chips

The chipmaker, at its developer forum in Beijing, talks up especially its move to 45-nanometer circuits.


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offered previews of its future technology plans and touted the advantages of its manufacturing muscle at its developer forum.

At the conference, held for the first time in Beijing, China, Intel executives reeled off a slew of more-powerful and power-efficient chips designed for PCs, servers and consumer-electronic devices.

In all, Intel provided details on more than 20 new products, technologies and industry initiatives.

Of course, many of the announcements merely added details to previously announced products, such as the forthcoming Penryn processor and the Santa Rosa chipset that will be available for laptops this spring.

The company did unveil a couple of new initiatives, including a chip architecture for parallel processing as well as plans to get a toehold in the growing crop of Internet-connected gadgets, but the company was mum on many of the specifics.

"Today, Intel is delivering a breadth of multicore processors worldwide and a product roadmap providing the incredible performance boost and energy efficiency needed to put the consumer more in control of the information age," Intel CTO Justin Rattner said in a statement.

Intel's developer forum is a twice-a-year event during which the chipmaker shows off its latest innovations to the computer programmers and customers who build products based on Intel chips, as well as for the benefit of the press in attendance.

The event's location in Beijing, instead of its traditional home in San Francisco, underscores the importance that Intel sees in China, the world's second-largest PC market after the U.S.

According to Intel, the company has more than 6,000 employees in China in various research and chip-assembly facilities. Last month, Intel announced plans to

invest $2.5 billion to build its first chip fabrication facility in Dalian, China.

Besides the mind-numbing avalanche of codenames assigned to each new chip, the common theme running across the announcements at Intel's developer forum was the advent of 45-nanometer manufacturing.

While Intel builds chips with 65-nanometer circuits, the company plans to begin building chips with smaller 45-nanometer circuits later this year. Smaller circuits allow a company to cram more transistors on each chip die, leading to lower costs, better performance and improved power efficiency.

Intel's 45-nanometer Penryn processor, slated for release later this year, will provide a 15% performance improvement in imaging-related applications and a 40% improvement in gaming compared with Intel's current top-of-the-line chips, the company said.

By hastily moving to 45-nanometer technology, Intel maintains its cost advantage over rival

Advanced Micro Devices

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, which is not expected to begin making 45-nanometer chips until 2008.

Intel also touched upon a new chip architecture dubbed Larrabee, which it said was highly parallel, meaning it can perform numerous mathematical operations simultaneously. According to Intel, Larrabee is designed to scale to trillions of floating point operations per second and will be geared toward scientific, financial and health applications.

Intel did not say where Larrabee sits in its technology plans or provide a time frame for when it would come to market, but the company noted that the project is no longer in the research phase and that Intel is planning products based on Larrabee.

The company also detailed a second attempt to put its chips inside consumer-electronic devices, almost a year after deciding to sell its XScale application processor business to

Marvell Technology

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for $600 million.

While XScale is based on technology licensed from Britain's

ARM Holdings


technology, Intel's new system-on-a-chip will be based on Intel's own architecture.

According to Intel, the new product will combine an Intel core, audio-visual processing and graphics acceleration on one chip, available in 2008, for TVs, set-top boxes and music and video players.

Shares of Intel closed Monday's regular trading session up 23 cents at $20.69.