Here come Intel's Westmere chips

Intel has been talking a lot about Westmere lately. Here's a quick look at the chipmaker's first 32-nanometer chips.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
2 min read

Updated at 9:25 p.m. PDT: correcting for expected Clarksfield and Lynnfield availability.

Intel has been talking a lot about Westmere chips lately. So, here's a quick look at Intel's first chips based on 32-nanometer technology.

Chief Executive Paul Otellini addressed Westmere during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call this week, saying the Westmere chip design will ship later this year, earlier than expected. "We have shipped thousands of Westmere samples to over 30 customers already," Otellini said in the conference call.

Intel's current lineup is made up of processors based on 45-nanometer technology. Generally, the smaller the geometries, the faster and more power efficient the chip. The move to 32-nanometer will put Intel ahead of rival Advanced Micro Devices, which isn't expected to transition to 32-nanometer chips until late in 2010.

The first installment of the Westmere family, the Clarkdale and Arrandale processors, is expected later this year, according to published Intel documentation. Clarkdale is a 32-nanometer desktop processor with built-in graphics--what Intel describes as a "multi-chip package with graphics integrated in (the) processor." Arrandale is a version--also with integrated graphics--for the mobile market, due later this year.

Intel Nehalem/Westmere chip lineup
Intel Nehalem/Westmere chip lineup Intel

In 2010, a processor code-named Gulftown (see graphic) is slated to appear and will be Intel's first six-core desktop processor. The Westmere chip will plug into existing Intel motherboard designs.

Westmere will support Intel's Hyperthreading technology, which doubles the number of tasks that can be handled simultaneously.

In related news, Intel's Nehalem mobile "Clarksfield" (don't confuse with Clarkdale) and Nehalem desktop "Lynnfield" processors will come in the second half of the year, according to Intel.

Chinese-language technology Web site HKEPC says Clarksfield quad-core processors will have speeds of 1.6GHz, 1.73GHz, and 2.0GHz and range in price from $364 to $1,054.

Both Annandale (32-nanometer) and Clarksfield (45-nanometer) chips are targeted at the "thin-and-light" laptop market, according to Intel documentation.