Quad-core Itanium packs 2 billion transistors

Ahead of the International Solid State Circuits Conference, Intel has revealed some details about its next-generation Itanium processor, code-named Tukwila. We've heard about Tukwila chips before, and we already know they will feature quad cores, include integrated memory controllers, and harness Intel's Common System Interface (a.k.a. QuickPath) to yield mind-boggling amounts of interconnect bandwidth (around 32GB/s in total).

What we didn't know is that, as ComputerWorld reports, Tukwila will actually feature two integrated memory controllers as well as a an equally mind-boggling two billion transistors. That's 300 million more transistors than Intel's previous major Itanium revision, the dual-core Montecito, and 1.18 billion more than the 45nm Penryn core. Tukwila will counterbalance its increased transistor budget with a move to 65nm process technology, down from the 90nm process used by its Montecito and Montvale predecessors. As a result, Intel tells ComputerWorld that Tukwila will be able to deliver twice the performance of Montvale in return for a fairly reasonable 25% increase in power consumption.

Tukwila is scheduled to roll out at the end of this year, ComputerWorld says. The chip will be available at speeds of up to 2GHz, and judging by Intel's statement about power consumption, power envelopes should be in the neighborhood of 130W—up from Montvale's maximum of 104W.

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