Intel introduces 2bn transistor microprocessor


5 Feb 2008

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As Intel gets ready to introduce the world’s first two-billion transistor chip at the International Solid State Circuits Conference 2008 in San Francisco, it seems the company has come a long way since 1971 when it produced its first microprocessor, the 4004, which had just 2,000 transistors on board.

While this microprocessor powerhouse, code-named Tukwila, is expected to be available in the second half of 2008, it will be aimed at computer servers rather than the consumer market.

Previously Intel broke the one billion transistor record back in 2006 but since then another firm reached the 1.7bn mark, which Intel has now just beaten with its newest Itanium chip.

While current Itanium microprocessors on the market have two processors on board, the Tukwila will have four. Although the new Itanium chip is a landmark development for Intel, this line has been criticised in the past and other manufacturers have dominated the market.

Also being introduced at the conference is Intel’s new WiMax chip, code-named Silverthorne, which can send and receive wireless signals and is designed for ultra-mobile connected devices.

“Many new things are colliding here: new product category plus new chip design and platform to meet low-cost, high performance, low battery consumption needs and a variety of capabilities for connecting wirelessly to the internet,” said Ken Kaplan, Intel employee, on Intel’s official blog.

By Marie Boran

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