An additional performance boost will follow in 2008 when the chipmaker starts shipping its Nehalem micro-architecture.
"We view Nehalem as the first truly dynamically scalable micro-architecture, " Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, said at a meeting with reporters in San Francisco.
Intel develops new core architectures on a two-year schedule. The current Core architecture was released in March 2006.
"The Core micro architecture is built for 45nm and 65nm. In the case of Nehelam, it is natively architected to take full advantage of 45nm," said Gelsinger.
"In that sense it is really going unlock the full potential of that process technology's capabilities beyond what the Penryn was capable of doing."
Nehalem will introduce two processing threads for each core, up from the current single threaded cores. Intel is currently working on eight-core processors, but might introduce larger chips in the future.
Mimicking the design of AMD processors, Nehalem will embed the memory controller onto the chip. It is currently part of the front side bus. In another move that follows AMD's lead, Nehalem will deliver an integrated graphics processor.
Intel declined to say whether the GPU is integrated in the chip package or part of the die.
The last option offers better performance and energy consumption, but could result in lower yields during chip manufacturing because it increases the die size.
Nehalem chips will not offer all of the available features, warned Gelsinger. It is therefore unlikely that an eight-core processor will come with the integrated graphics processor.
The Nehalem micro-architecture is scheduled to start shipping in 2008. Intel plans to release its first 45nm Penryn chips later this year.
The chipmaker has said that Penryn will come in two-core and four-core versions, and will be the first chip to feature the new SSE4 instruction set.
Penryn will also use a new transistor design that dramatically cuts power leakage.
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