Yonah takes first step toward new chips

Yonah takes first step toward new chips

Intel's Yonah processor, scheduled for release next year, foreshadows the new chips coming out by the end of 2006.

Yonah, Intel's dual-core mobile processor for the first quarter of 2006, is every bit as revolutionary as the single-core Pentium M processor that changed the way Intel designed its chips.

It is not just two Pentium M cores slapped together on the same silicon die, head of presilicon validation for mobile platforms at Intel, Ronny Korner, said.

The separate cores are based on the Pentium M, but they work very closely together to save power and improve performance by sharing data and monitoring the workload on each core, he said.

The Pentium D, Intel's dual-core chip for desktop PCs, was simply two Pentium 4 processors crammed onto a single chip with little time to overcome problems such as package design and signaling interference, an Intel engineer told attendees at the Hot Chips conference earlier this month.

Yonah's two processor cores each have their own bank of cache memory, which stores frequently used data close to the main CPU where they can be accessed more quickly.

Those cores share information about the contents of that cache directly with each other, unlike the Pentium D's caches, which exchange information by sending a signal out of one core, off the chip, and back onto the chip to the other core.

Intel also designed a deeper sleep state for Yonah that clears the cache memory of data in order to save power, vice-president of the Intel Mobile Platforms Group, Mooly Eden, said.

The vendor also disclosed a number of power-saving technologies built into the 945 Express chipset and Pro/Wireless 3945ABG chips that will accompany Yonah in Napa, a forthcoming platform that combines the three.

For example, the 945 chipset will be able to automatically dim a notebook's display based on the amount of power left in the battery in order to extend the lifetime of that charge, Eden said.

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