February 17, 2006 1:48 PM PST

Intel strikes back with next-generation chips

Intel expects its forthcoming Conroe and Merom chips to deliver a performance advantage of at least 20 percent over chips from Advanced Micro Devices that are slated to be released at the same time, an Intel executive said Friday.

Next month's Intel Developer Forum will include a thorough airing of the company's new design philosophies, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. The company plans to brief hardware developers, partners, and analysts on the nitty-gritty details of its new microarchitecture, which is set to replace Intel's blueprints for desktop, mobile and server processors.

"We believe we'll be able to open a major gap," with the new processors, Eden said. Eden led the design team that created the original Pentium M processor, which is credited as the inspiration for Intel's embrace of low-power design philosophies and the model for Merom and Conroe. Merom and Conroe are expected to launch for notebooks and desktops, respectively, in the second half of this year.

The awkwardly titled Next-Generation Micro-Architecture (let's call it NGMA) has yet to receive a catchy name like Netburst, the Pentium 4 architecture it is replacing. But Eden believes it will quickly grab the attention of PC vendors, chip reviewers and analysts who have anointed the AMD64 architecture as the current performance leader. Intel has already disclosed a few details about NGMA. It uses 14 pipeline stages instead of the 31 used by Intel's Pentium 4 processors. Information is processed through a processor's pipeline. The more stages in the pipeline, the less work each individual stage performs, requiring the chip to run very fast and therefore very hot. Intel has moved away from that design strategy in favor of smaller pipelines that do more work per stage, and can therefore run at slower clock speeds.

The microarchitecture also allows the processor to issue four instructions per clock, rather than three, as on Intel's current chips. It uses advanced branch prediction technology borrowed from the Pentium 4 designs. And chips built on that microarchitecture will also share the unified cache introduced with the Core Duo processor, Eden said.

Chips built with NGMA will use 4MB of cache memory, Eden said. Cache memory stores frequently used data right on the chip, where it can be accessed much more quickly than data stored in external memory. Unifying the caches on a dual-core processor improves performance by expanding the amount of cache each core can utilize, which will produce a huge improvement on single-threaded applications that only use a single core, he said.

The combination of all those architectural changes will allow Intel to outperform AMD's planned offerings for the second half of 2006 without having to resort to adopting AMD's integrated memory controller design, Eden said. "It will take at least a year and a half to two years to close such a gap."

Intel has been hesitant to embrace the integrated memory controller since the failure of its last attempt to use such a design. Integrating the memory controller allows that vital gateway between the CPU and the memory to run at the speed of the processor, whisking data into the processor at a high rate of speed. But it also forces the processor to be designed specifically for a certain type of memory, which doomed Intel's Timna processor when its integrated memory controller was designed for Rambus' short-lived RDRAM standard.

Instead, Intel will count on its microarchitectural improvements and a faster front-side bus to deliver the 20 percent improvement in performance over AMD's chips, based on standard benchmarks, Eden said.

AMD is not planning any major architectural changes to its processors this year, but it does plan to introduce support for DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory. That memory standard can reach faster speeds than the current DDR memory used by AMD's chips, which will improve the performance of AMD-based systems.

The Spring Intel Developer Forum kicks off March 7 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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23 comments

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Catching up...
...yet pretending to lead

> "We believe we'll be able to open a major gap," with the new processors, Eden said.

First close the one that exists :) (GO, AMD!)

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Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL new architecture is Pentium Pro
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/</a>

INTEL is 5 generations behind AMD
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The middle-east amateurs knows how to brag
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_02/b3966010.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_02/b3966010.htm</a>

Who believe this Mooly Eden's shameless bragging of the old stuff. It was the American Bob Colwell who designed Pentium Pro, the middle-east amateurs just improved it, and call it revolutionary.
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No love
on this site anymore. The people that troll these articles are anti-microsoft, anti-intel, anti-US, anti-Bush.....racist blow hearts.

Why did you have to make the middle east comment???????????

As far as having a Pentium pro architecture&&..yeah I am sure its basically the same thing shrunk to .65&&NOT. Sure some of its base design might be the same&but how does anyone really know until it comes out.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Talking trash
Mooly Eden talks up some good trash. It's clear that he's hoping that he can close up the performance gap with AMD by using Intel's manufacturing capacity advantage to produce some really big chips with 4MB of cache (4 times more than what AMD puts in its own chips). Of course the danger there is that the more cache there is the more circuitry there is and the chances of having some bad circuitry during manufacturing are correspondingly higher.

Also there was a rumour that AMD is already prepared to implement ZRAM technology in its caches. Most caches these days are made with SRAM technology, which requires around 5 transistors to create one RAM cell. ZRAM is a technology that can do this with one transistor! Therefore if AMD wanted to, it could implement a 4MB ZRAM cache in less space than it takes to put on 1MB SRAM cache.
Posted by ykhan67 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The idiot claimed that 2x 32 bit core better than 64 bit
Says Schmuel "Mooly" Eden, an Israeli engineer who helped spearhead the Centrino launch and now heads marketing for the Mobility Group: "When I went back to Israel to talk to some of the engineers, they said: 'You're only one year in marketing, and already you're brain-damaged."'

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1" target="_newWindow">http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1</a>


One thing Yonah won't have, at least initially, is the ability to run 64-bit applications.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/Intel+spills+beans+on+Yonah,+the+next+notebook+chip/2100-1006_3-5729925.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/Intel+spills+beans+on+Yonah,+the+next+notebook+chip/2100-1006_3-5729925.html</a>


"We made a conscious decision not to include it" because of the impact on battery life, Eden said.
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
Typical Marketing Strategy
This is just a typical marketing strategy to promote their new cores. Of course Intel is going to say their new cores are going to perform 20% better than AMD. The problem with this is that AMD has not just been siiting on their rears waiting for Intels response. Even if the new cores from Intel outperform AMD, in six months AMD will release their new cores and still be at least a year ahead of the game. Until Intel drops the FSB arcitechture and adopt Hypertransport, they are going to remain behind the game.
Posted by mstlyevil (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL's marketing vaporware
I bet more INTEL lovers will just hold on their P4 purchases to wait for their NGMA. Such marketing hype shows INTEL is simply desperate.
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
I see a major upset
With Intels backs to the wall with the anti trust thing, I think their going to really outgun AMD this time around. Should be interesting to see.
Posted by Luminaris (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pointless race.
Intel might outgun the current AMD chips, but then AMD will take that lead back a few months later, as has been already noted.

Intel's hype does smell a lot like Microsoft's these days. They are playing catch-up and not making-up much ground. They would be better served to adopt more of what AMD has done, then start to make the chip design their own again. This game of trying to mask the major short-comings of their current design can't last.

I'm not anti-intel, I just want the best CPU out there, and right now that is an AMD chip.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Link Flag
Mooly Eden's brain is damaged
This was according to his own colleagues in INTEL:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1" target="_newWindow">http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL's desperate vaporware
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1" target="_newWindow">http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/051230/b3966001.html?.v=1</a>

"There definitely are people who are highly skeptical, who think this is all fluff, all just gloss -- that if you make good technology, you don't need the glitz," says Genevieve Bell....

"People are smart enough to pick quality when given a choice, and calling something a platform doesn't guarantee quality," Ruiz says....


One example of the new approach is Bern Shen. A doctor who practiced internal medicine for 15 years, he joined Intel three months ago to help develop technologies for digital health. He works with Intel's ethnographers to figure out which technologies might help in monitoring the vital signs of the elderly or tracking the diet of people with Alzheimer's. "The fact that they hired me is an indication of the new Intel," he says.

"They are pushing some very innovative approaches, in areas that relate to dementia, Alzheimer's care, and Parkinson's disease."

Says Schmuel "Mooly" Eden, an Israeli engineer who helped spearhead the Centrino launch and now heads marketing for the Mobility Group: "When I went back to Israel to talk to some of the engineers, they said: 'You're only one year in marketing, and already you're brain-damaged."'
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bored?
Or just lonely?

We get it. You don't like Intel or Eden.
Posted by djemerson (64 comments )
Link Flag
Intel gets an A for effort
An A for their marketing effort! But their engineering has yet to be able to live up the story they've spun.
Posted by David Dudley (446 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intel Next-Generation Chips
NGMA= eNiGMA.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Conroe is slower than Athlon 64
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/clovertown-scores-revealed.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/clovertown-scores-revealed.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/conroe-performance-claim-being-busted.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/conroe-performance-claim-being-busted.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Conroe is slower than Athlon 64
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/clovertown-scores-revealed.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/clovertown-scores-revealed.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/conroe-performance-claim-being-busted.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/04/conroe-performance-claim-being-busted.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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