Intel on Monday headed up its Developer Forum with word that it has started manufacturing its first processors based on a 32 nanometer (nm) process. The shrink from 45nm, nicknamed Westmere, should improve performance by increasing the density of the processors by about 30 percent while reducing the amount of power used; the gesture lets Intel boost clock speeds without drawing extra battery life or generating more heat.
All Westmere chips are based on the earlier Nehalem architecture and should support Turbo Boost, which shuts down one or more cores when unneeded and overclocks the remaining parts. Some models should also support Hyperthreading and theoretically support running twice as many tasks as there are cores.
The first chips using 32nm technology are due to ship between the end of 2009 and early 2010 and will be led by Arrandale, or Intel's first mobile dual-core processor to use Nehalem; its clock speeds should vary between 2.4GHz and 2.66GHz but should be faster than existing Core 2 Duos thanks to Hyperthreading and the denser chip process. Its desktop counterpart, Clarkdale, is due in a similar timeframe.
Along with the more mainstream processors, Intel has given a preview of one of its first embedded Xeons. Jasper Forest is intended for network-attached storage and other systems where more power is needed than usual in these areas but without as much energy consumption or physical bulk as regular Xeons; the dual-core chip includes its own PCI Express interface for much quicker time routing data through the system. Intel estimates about 27W less power use than a modern Xeon 5500. The technology is due to ship in early 2010.