The Future Of Intel Processors - Westmere, Sandy Bridge & Haswell
In those last two years, Intel has shipped almost 250 million CPUs based on the 45 nanometer silicon high K metal gate technology. Intel is as of right now, the only company in the world that ships 45 nanometer technology of its kind and they are already stepping forward to the 32 nanometer next generation. Thirty two nanometers is yet a further shrink of the silicon wafer technology which allows wafer yields to increase and electricity consumption to decrease providing more computing power to the user with less utilization of electricity.
The existence of the 32 nanometer process creates a situation whereby it is economically possible to place into the marketplace accessible to the average computer user a microprocessor which contains more than 1 billion transistors and to do so at a very affordable price and in extremely high volumes. The 32 nanometer Intel process is already on the second generation of these specialized transistors with high K metal gates. The new generation of microprocessor technology was previously known as the next step within the Nehalem micro processor computing family and now it has been referred to under its own separate family name, Westmere.
However, technological development at Intel continues to progress, and the 32 nanometer Westmere (as impressive as it is), is definitely not the final tock of Intel's ongoing tick-tock strategy. The generation after the Westmere 32 nanometer micro processing manufacturing process will be Sandy Bridge which will be an optimization to the legitimate maximum of the 32 nanometer process and then will premiere Haswell, which is a process created around an even tinier 22 nanometer scale.
Haswell is the first 22 nanometer silicon microprocessor that has ever been built. It includes the smallest SRAM in any working circuit in the world. The Haswell 22 nanometer CPUs utilize a third generation of the special silicon technology known as high K metal gate already one full generation past the current state of the art Westmere 32 nanometer microprocessor. Each and every one of these SRAM chips contains almost 3 billion transistors set up on a 364 MB SRAM array.
The 32 nanometer Westmere project is fully scalable and includes a significant number of innovative features which beginning with the Westmere generation, will integrate a great number of functions which in current personal computers are conducted by separate circuitry directly into the microprocessor's integration itself. The most significant of this integration circuitry is the graphics subsystem.
Not all of the technologies and architectural platforms which Intel is working on for today and the future are at the very high end of the computing spectrum such as the new Westmere and Sandy Bridge 32 nm microprocessors, the Haswell 22 nm CPUs, and the integration of graphics subsystems directly onto the microprocessor chip itself. There is another architecture which Intel has introduced and continues to develop to further advance the causes of mobile and portable imbedded computing technology and that is the technology which is based around the Intel Atom microprocessor.