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Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Intel benchmarks 3.3GHz Penryn chip, pre-production Xeon

Presenting at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing on Tuesday, executives for the world's largest chipmaker disclosed new performance details for its next-generation "Penryn" processor families for desktops and servers.

Intel has previously stated that it has six Penryn family processors in the works, including dual and quad-core desktop processors, and a dual core mobile processor under the Intel Core processor brand name. It also holds new dual and quad-core Penryn server processors under the Intel Xeon processor brand name.

Pat Gelsinger, senior vice present and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group, told a developer crowd at the Beijing International Convention Center that Penryn desktop PCs should see increases of about 15 percent for imaging-related applications; 25 percent for 3-D rendering; more than 40 percent for gaming; and more than 40 percent faster video encoding with Intel SSE4 optimized video encoders.

The Intel exec noted that preliminary benchmark indicators were based on pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel quad core processor running at 3.33GHz with a 1333MHz front side bus and 12MB cache versus an existing Intel Core 2 Extreme processor QX6800 running at 2.93 GHz with 1066 front side bus and 8MB cache.

Also highlighted was a pre-production 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processor with 1600 MHz front side bus for workstations. Gelsinger said the server chip is expected to yield gains of up to 45 percent for bandwidth intensive applications and a 25 percent for servers using Java when pit against today's quad-core Xeon X5355 processors.

Following on the heels of Penryn, Intel said it will begin manufacturing the Nehalem processor family in 2008. Among many other features, the processors will have from 1-8+ cores per product, and include simultaneous multi-threading to show 2-16 threads per chip. Certain future Nehalem processors will also include options such as system interconnects and integrated memory controllers and high-performance integrated graphics engine.
During his presentation on Tuesday, Gelsinger also unveiled its plans for "Tolapai" and "Caneland." The former is the first in what will be a family of enterprise-class "system-on-chip" (SoC) products that integrate several key system components into a single Intel architecture-based processor, while the latter is a new series of high-end Xeon processors for blades.

Expected in 2008, Tolapai will reduce the chip sizes by up to 45 percent and power consumption by approximately 20 percent compared to a standard four-chip design, while improving throughput performance and processor efficiency.

Meanwhile, Gelsinger said quad- and dual-core Intel Xeon processor 7300 (Caneland) series will arrive in the third quarter of 2007 in 80- and 50-watt versions for blades. The new servers will complete the company's transition to its Intel Core microarchitecture for Xeon processors.

On Monday, Intel released some additional details on Penryn's mobile family of processors.