Intel Previews 32nm Itanium "Poulson" Processor - HotHardware

Intel Previews 32nm Itanium "Poulson" Processor

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Enter Poulson



Poulson incorporates a number of advances in its record-breaking 3.1B (yes, billion) transistors. It's socket-compatible with the older Tukwila processors and offers up to eight cores and 54MB of on-die memory. It's assumed that Intel will eventually offer Poulson products with less than eight cores and/or with lower amounts of available cache, but the company has announced no details on pricing or SKU structure.

Like Tukwila, Poulson shares a common platform with current Xeon 7500 products. Intel claims that the new chip delivers improved RAS (Reliability, Availability, Stability) services as compared to its predecessors and that it draws significantly less power than Tukwila would if the latter had been shrunk to a 32nm process.



The one thing Intel isn't discussing is what sort of performance boost Poulson can deliver relative to Tukwila. One of Poulson's most notable features is its doubled execution width. Up until now, all Itanium processors could only issue up to six instructions per clock cycle; Poulson boosts that to 12. In theory, Poulson's IPC (instructions per clock cycle) rate should be much higher than that of Tukwila when measured clock-for-clock.

Like all Itanium processors, however, Poulson relies much more heavily on the compiler's ability to schedule instructions for optimum execution than a standard x86 processor. The degree of performance improvement over previous processors, therefore, will depend on whether or not the compiler can hand over enough parallelized threads to take advantage of the architecture's increased capabilities.

Even with this caveat, Poulson should offer both an increase in absolute performance and in performance-per-watt when compared to previous Itanium processors. Longer term we might even see Itanium edging slightly beyond its current niche market status. Itanium's raw performance has never been in doubt when compared to conventional x86 processors using properly optimized code. Given sufficiently intelligent compilers, Itanium could begin to make economic sense in fields that couldn't previously justify the high cost of optimizing for the chip. 

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32nm = WOW! I wonder how small will they get 10 years from now? anyone wanna guess?

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10nm if not smaller... but i wouldnt be surprised if enterprise wide quantum-light processors hit the market or are just about to hit the market.... Unless 2012 dooms day, or a post apocalyptic-zombie world, or google-skynet-watson controlled earth where the humans are batteries that power the robots after we blacken the sky etc

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20 something nm is next. I think 22?

They will probably switch to fiber and the manufacturing process will get bigger again, and then start shrinking from there all over again.

And then a switch over to Quantum computers.

Computers are going to start changing drastically. We will all have to relearn a lot of thing :-P

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As long as I can play Spider Solitaire,..........

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As long as I can play Spider Solitaire,..........

and Free Cell! i'm with ya on this one haha.

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Hey coolice that "google-skynet-watson" scenario might mess up Apples plan to take it over (the world).

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Wow those forecasters must have been hanging with someone and drunk or otherwise inebriated when they wrote that forecast, that was of by a country mile +10!

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Intel is actually building a 14nm fab facility, supposed to be done in 2013:

http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2011/02/19/50530/intel-to-build-14nm-fab.htm

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I recently went back and read a thread on CPU predictions from tech forum members in the year 2000. An astonishingly large number of people thought we'd seriously be using things like quantum or light-based computers.

The fact is, scientists in 2010 are still thrilled when someone demonstrates a way to use 5-10 atoms to hold some bit of data. At the same time, Intel's current version of Lights Peak (the supposed optical interface) is currently using copper wire.

 

I'm not knocking LP, but if even Intel hasn't figured out how to deploy the optical interface is a cost-effective manner, we're likely 20 years or more away from the sorts of things most techies like to predict are coming "just down the road."  Furthermore, I don't think we'll see a real push into such areas until conventional manufacturing methods simply run out of room.

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