Intel will start shipping 45nm (nanometre) versions of its latest microprocessors for laptops, desktop PCs and servers in the second half of next year.

The company is only shrinking the processors, not releasing a new microarchitecture, said Tom Kilroy, general manager of the digital entertainment group at Intel. He was speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei.

Intel produces the majority of its Core 2 Duo microprocessors using larger 65nm manufacturing technology. The smaller 45nm technology will enable Intel to improve chip performance by 20 percent, with five times less leakage than current processors, the company said.

New production technologies are important to enable companies to make chips faster, more energy-efficient and smaller so they take up less room inside devices. Chip manufacturing technologies are described by the approximate size of features they can build on a chip. A nanometre is one-billionth of a metre.

When Intel's next microarchitecture arrives in 2008, codenamed Nehalem, its components will also be made at 45nm sizes, ensuring a 300 percent performance per watt increase.