Intel brings Nehalem to notebooks, makes light of cables

At Intel Developer Forum, processor chief Dadi Perlmutter also touts a new fiber-optic replacement for video, audio, and network leads.

Rupert Goodwins
Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.
Rupert Goodwins
2 min read
Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager for the Intel Architecture Group, speaks Wednesday morning at IDF.
Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager for the Intel Architecture Group, speaks Wednesday morning at IDF. Stephen Shankland/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel has moved its latest desktop and server chip architecture to the laptop with the announcement of its 45nm Core i7 mobile processor, based on its new Nehalem microarchitecture.

Officially launched at the Intel Developer Forum here Wednesday morning, the chip is initially available in two standard and one Extreme Edition versions. Formerly known as Clarksfield, the quad-core chip combines Intel's Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading technologies.

"It's a 2GHz chip, but with Turbo Boost it can go up to 3.2GHz," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group. Turbo Boost works by switching off cores when not in use and overclocking the active cores left. "Clarksfield is the best quad-, dual-, and single-core chip," said Eden.

The chips run at 45 watts, 55 watts for the Extreme Edition, and have an integrated memory controller--the first Intel mobile chips in this lower cost, higher performance configuration.

Dadi Perlmutter, newly promoted general manager of the Intel Architecture Group in charge of processors, said next year would see the Westmere 32nm designs in laptops, with the Arrandale processor adding on-chip graphics for another boost in performance and better power savings.

He also said that Intel was working on new security features for laptops. "Working with LoJack and available next year," he said, "we'll have new capabilities that let you send a message to a lost or stolen computer. If you're nice, you can say 'Please return my computer.' Some say 'The data is shredded, and so are you.'"

Intel also unveiled Light Peak, a new optical fiber interconnection technology that it hopes will eventually replace most or all of the current cabling that computer and mobile users have to deal with.

Running at 10Gbps--enough to transfer a Blu-ray movie in under 30 seconds--and with a maximum reach of 100 meters, Light Peak is designed to carry high-definition video, networking traffic, and high volumes of other data at the same time. Capable of scaling up to 100Gbps, Intel says it is planning to have components ready for manufacturers in 2010.

"We know that legacy takes a long time to change," said Perlmutter, "but we're hoping that over time, this one single cable will replace huge amounts of cable." He said that the primary advantage of this wired system for mobile users is that "the amount of connectors you have in the back of your notebook is a limit to how small it can get."

Rupert Goodwins of ZDNet UK reported from San Francisco.