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A First Look At The 45nm Intel Penryn

Author:  Jason Jacobs
Date:  2007.11.13
Topic:  Processors
Provider:  Killer Notebooks
Manufacturer:  Killer Notebooks

A First Look At The 45nm Intel Penryn

Introducing the Penryn:

The Penryn processor is the latest offering from Intel. Based on 45nm silicon the Penryn boasts 410m transistors for the dual core and 820m for the quad core. Penryn's based on the quad core will be made by packaging two dual core Penryn's dies together. The Penryn introduces several advancements over the current Core Microarchitecture some of which include:

Now for a look at the actual Silicon!



As many of you are aware larger cache has typically translated into higher performance and Intel seems ready to include a lot of cache on its processors. Does this translate into higher performace? Early benchmarks would lead us to believe so. Check out the Super Pi benchmark of a Penryn 2.6 overclocked to 3116 MHz.

Click on the Thumbnail for a Larger Image.

Some of the keen eyes out there might notice that this is a Penryn running on a laptop from Killer Notebooks which really makes me feel horrible as this laptop with a mobile Penryn chip outperforms my desktop and my desktop is a dual Xeon 5150. Can we expect final silicon to be even faster than these first looks? only time will tell. To our knowledge TechwareLabs has the first publication showing a verified CPUID screenshow of the new Penryn with all of its details present. A huge thanks goes out to Killer Notebooks for the opportunity to cover this product.

What accounts for this new improvement according to Intel is the use of the new high-K gate material in its transistors in addition to several other misc improvement which we noted above. The high-k transistors should lead to faster switching and thus a great improvment in performance. The material in the new gate is Hafnium based which is a metal as opposed to the use of silicon dioxide in previous gate technology.

(When we start to see a lot of ium's being used in everyday consumer electronics its time for me to put on my tinfoil hat and find a bomb shelter.)

Intel is currently the only processor manufacturer using high-k materials and doesnt expect other manufacturers to be ready with similar transistors until they reach the 32nm process.

The top image is a shot of the die from a current Core 2 Duo. The bottom shows the new Penryn die. As you can see the Penryn is not only smaller but also packs a larger cache and additional functionality.

Click on the Thumbnail to the right for a Larger image.

Image courtesy of Lost Circuits

We will have a full review of the Penryn shortly with real world, game, and synthetic benchmarks so stay tuned in.

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