Intel Roadmap Shown Off, Atoms to Supercede Moore’s Law and Get Yearly Updates

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What with Computex 2011 among us, the hardware news is coming fast and furious – both via official press channels and the less official rumors and leaks chatter. Intel has taken the opportunity to announce a few new plans, while one insider took it upon himself to announce a few more.

One of the big news items is Intel’s plans to accelerate development of their ubiquitous Atom processor. For the last several years, the chipmaker has enjoyed what it terms a tick-tock style of microarchitecture evolution. One year it will change the architecture, and the next year it will shrink the manufacturing process used. Moore’s Law gets trotted out now and then (the idea states that the number of transistors that can be fit within a given space roughly doubles every 18 months), which is no surprise since the eponymous Moore was a co-founder of Intel.

The decision to continuously shrink new Atom chips annually instead of bi-annually is accompanied by all sorts of “defying Moore’s Law,” etc. In reality, there’s a very good chance that Intel sees real competition in the space, both from AMD and ARM, and doesn’t want to give up one speck of marketshare. AMD has a viable competitor for the first time in a while in the form of some of their new Fusion APU chips, while AMD’s low-power CPUs are getting stronger and more prevalent by the day. Within three years, the company expects to transition the Atom CPU from a 32nm manufacturing process down to a 22nm and then 14nm.

Intel 2011 2012 Roadmap

The other bit of news to come out ahead of Computex was a slide showing Intel’s plans for the next year. Chinese site Zol broke the story, with the document listing most of Intel’s desktop CPU launches for the next several months. Most interesting, the upcoming Ivy Bridge platform, which incorporates the “Tri-Gate” 3D transistors Intel spoke about earlier this year, has a set launch frame of the tail end of Q1 2012. This follows the last of the high-end Sandy Bridge CPUs, Intel’s four- and six-core processors. Curiously, it means that AMD will be the first company to launch eight-core CPUs destined for the consumer desktop.

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