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Monday, April 16, 2007, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Intel talks Penryn, quad-core mobile chip due in 2008

Looking beyond the launch of Santa Rosa next month, Intel on Monday previewed technology expected to turn up in a later refresh to the next-generation mobile platform and also touted a quad-core mobile chip due in 2008.

The world's largest chipmaker said the initial refresh to Santa Rosa will be based on a mobile Penryn processor, a 45-nanometer shrink of its current chip designs. The first of those chips are slated to hit production later this year and turn up in the Santa Rosa refresh during the first half of next year.

"We will be able to take Penryn, the 45-nanometer [chip], and plug it into exactly the same platform [that will ship in May] to enable a fast ramp," Intel's Mooly Eden said at a press conference ahead the company's Intel Developer Forum conference, which kicks off in Beijing tomorrow.

Also on Intel's roadmap is a quad-core Penryn mobile processor due for release sometime during the 2008 calendar year. It will reportedly be aimed at high-level gaming and mobile workstations, where users are willing to trade battery life for more performance. However, the chip is not expected to find its way into most notebook systems.

"You'll see it at the high-end, but I don't see it running so fast into the mainstream because I don't believe there will be enough threaded applications that will justify the tradeoffs," Eden said.

The architecture of the quad-core mobile chip is expected to differ considerably from Intel's current quad-core server and desktop chips, which essentially sticks two dual-core chips together. One possibility is a chip design having all four cores on one piece of silicon, which should increase speeds and use less energy.

"You can imagine that because we are speaking about notebooks that we have special constraints from cooling, from space," Eden added.

Intel's Spring Developer Forum runs April 17-18 at the Beijing International Convention Center in Beijing, China.

Penryn Die Photo

Photo of the Intel Penryn Die