Live from Hot Chips 19: Session 8, Mobile PC Processors

Glaskowsky analyzes presentations from Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA.

Tech Culture

Now for the Mobile PC Processors session at Hot Chips. Previous Hot Chips installments covered networking, the Reed Hundt speech, AMD keynote, wireless networking, technology and software, process technology, multicore designs, IBM's Power 6 efforts, Vernor Vinge's keynote address, and Nvidia. Other CNET coverage may be found here. Comments are welcome!

Alas, there wasn't much new in this session, so this blog entry is short.

First up in this session is a presentation by Intel on its next-generation Penryn microarchitecture. Penryn will be used in processors for mobile, desktop, and server systems. Intel has talked about Penryn many times before and there's tons of information out there about it, including this PDF presentation from the Intel Developer Forum in April which is very similar to the Hot Chips slide deck, so I won't rehash it here.

Slightly more interesting was AMD's talk on its forthcoming "Griffin" mobile processor, although most of this information has been previously disclosed as well. This chip uses a core design carried over from the Rev. G core in AMD's current Turion line, but incorporates new features to improve performance and battery life.

Griffin upgrades the HyperTransport bus interface to version 3, which is faster and more efficient. The chip's memory controller has been replaced with a new mobile-optimized design that operates on a separate low-voltage power supply. The two cores on the new chip can be scaled independently in frequency and voltage using separate power supplies. That's all good.

AMD says Griffin is running in the lab today; systems should be on sale next year. Frequencies and peak power consumption should be similar to current Turion parts; there may be some slight frequency edge because of the lower power consumption of some of the subsystems.

Finally in this session, NVIDIA described its nForce 680i and 680a chipsets, which began shipping last fall (yes, almost a year ago). The suffixes refer to the target CPU platform-- Intel or AMD. Press releases for these parts can be found here, here, and here.

Okay, just one more session to go: "Big Iron," covering Sun's future "Victoria Falls" processor and IBM's z6 mainframe processor. After that, I plan to plunge my wrists into ice water for five or ten minutes.

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