NetBurst is dead: long live Core

Written by Wil Harris

March 7, 2006 | 18:15

Tags: #core #idf #justin-rattner #micro-architecture #netburst

Companies: #intel

Despite admitting to being caught under "Tremendous competitive pressure" from its rivals, Intel's CTO Justin Rattner said that this year's IDF was going to be "One of the most outstanding programmes we've seen in a long time," saying that the products and technologies on show were truly revolutionary.

Living up to his word, Rattner finally unveiled Intel's next generation micro-architecture - named the Core Micro-Architecture. Core MA is designed to herald the dawn of energy efficient computing.

Core will replace Netburst - the architecture that defined the Pentium 4 - and will be rolled out across all of Intel's new processors this year. Rattner said that it sports hundreds of improvements in capability and innovations.

Core has a 4-wide, 14-stage pipeline. This means it can handle four instructions simultaneously, whilst the short pipeline means those instructions are turned around quickly, compared to the 20+ stages in the Pentium 4 pipeline. It is also capable of taking discrete instructions from programmes and combining them together so that they only take a single clock cycle between them, resulting in more speed and efficiency.

It adds enhancements to SSE3, Intel's library of multimedia instructions, that will result in faster multimedia performance.

It's also capable of gating managing far more efficiently than previously: entire parts of the processor can be shut down to save power when they're not in use.

Intel said that its next generation desktop processor, codenamed Conroe, will see power requirements fall by 40% and performance increase by 40% compared to the current generation Pentium D, thanks to its implementation of Core.

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