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IDF: Intel's architects aim for power economy

Watts: the big idea

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has confirmed that Intel will introduce a new chip design architecture next year that focuses on delivering the best performance per watt of power consumed.

Otellini told attendees at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) that three new chips scheduled for the second half of 2006 will use a new architecture that will replace the Netburst architecture used by its Pentium 4 and Xeon chips.

Otellini also revealed plans to create a new class of chips for powerful handheld devices that Intel referred to as ‘handtop’ PCs. The company is working to develop powerful chips that consume only half a watt of power by the end of the decade.

Power consumption has been among the top concerns of chip designers over the past few years. With Intel's Netburst/Pentium 4 architecture having reached the end of its useful life, the company's new architecture for PC and server chips will combine the power-saving focus of the Banias architecture used to build the Pentium M notebook processor with the performance provided by Netburst, Otellini said.

Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest will be the first chips to use this new architecture, as had been predicted by analysts and sources familiar with Intel's plans as early as last year.

Intel was expected to reveal further details about the architecture in briefings later on Tuesday. But Otellini confirmed that the chips will be 64bit-capable and come with Intel's virtualisation technology, the LaGrande security technology and the company's Active Management Technology.

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