Intel is apparently on track to start volume manufacturing of 65-nanometer processors in late 2005. The company expects the 65-nano transition to be smoother than its stormy migration to 90-nano. Power consumption looks to be a priority this time around:
Nevertheless, Bohr said, "everyone at Intel has gotten religion" when it comes to saving power. Technologists provide a process with a certain subthreshold slope, he said. It is up to circuit designers to choose whether to push performance for desktop and server applications, where the system thermal budget is about 90 to 100 watts, or to throttle back transistors to save on power for mobile systems.Intel actually argues that their 90-nano process has "the least leaky transistors in the industry." Apparently, Prescott's design rather than Intel's fabrication technology is to blame for the chip's high power consumption and toasty tendencies.
Bohr said logic transistors generally can tolerate lower voltages than memory arrays, and hinted that Intel may move to dual-voltage designs in the future. The 65-nm logic transistors can operate at voltages as low as 0.7 V, and the prototype SRAM arrays also have been characterized at 0.7 V, he said. "We've done more in the power area than in the past."
In related news, Intel's transition to 90-nano processors appears to be going well. DigiTimes is reporting that 90-nano chips, including both Prescott Pentium 4 and Celeron D processors, represent 90% of Intel's boxed CPU shipments in Taiwan.
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