Intel's Silverthorne to revive Hyper-Threading

Intel's Hyper-Threading simultaneous multi-threading technology started fading into obscurity when Intel introduced the Pentium D in 2005, and it essentially disappeared from the public eye as the Core 2 Duo followed the year after. Then, last year, Intel announced that Hyper-Threading—or at least some type of comparable SMT implementation—was due for a comeback in its next-gen Nehalem architecture, which is expected to debut in the latter part of this year.

We may see HT return in an Intel chip before that, though. According to the folks at Reg Hardware, Intel has revealed that its upcoming Silverthorne processor will also incorporate Hyper-Threading. Silverthorne is a brand-new CPU Intel claims to have designed from the ground up for its Menlow mobile platform, which is scheduled to hit ultra-mobile systems next quarter. Architecturally, Reg Hardware says Silverthorne features a single-core, in-order design with a 16-stage pipeline. The chip is expected to be compatible with the x86 ISA used in Intel's existing desktop chips. The addition of HT shouldn't offer the full benefits of a dual-core design, but it could nonetheless deliver smoother multi-tasking and perhaps some performance gains.

Intel will couple its 45nm process technology with this new, simplified mobile architecture to allow Silverthorne to get away with a power envelope of just 2W. In fact, Reg Hardware says Intel expects Silverthorne chips to spend most of their lifetimes drawing less than 1W, thanks to a modular power delivery system and aggressive clock gating and sleep states.

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