Beyond dual core: 2007 desktop CPU road map


In terms of specific processor releases, Computerworld has heard of a few Penryn-based CPUs that should be released in late 2007. Two dual-core, single-die processors known as "Ridgefield" and "Wolfdale," respectively, could be released as early as the third quarter of 2007. There has been no concrete information regarding the clock speeds of these two processors, but reliable early information has indicated that the Ridgefield processor will have 3MB of shared L2 cache, while the Wolfdale variant will have 6MB of shared L2 cache.

One of Intel's most potentially exciting desktop CPUs is code-named "Yorkfield" and appears to be a 45nm-process quad-core processor that uses a single die (referred to as "native" quad-core) and has an astonishing 12MB of shared L2 cache. When combined with the performance-per-watt advantages of the 45nm processor, this could be Intel's extreme high-end CPU of the year if it is released on schedule at the end of Q3 or the beginning of Q4 2007.

Finally, although the company has not confirmed this in any way, it's entirely plausible that Intel could combine two Yorkfield processors at the end of 2007 to create an octo-core, dual-die, 24MB L2 cache monster.

All the Penryn processors described above will be compatible with Intel's new Bearlake chip set.

As a teaser to what may come beyond 2007, rumors have swirled around a future-gen Intel microprocessor architecture code-named "Nehalem" that will be released in 2008. No details on this architecture have been revealed to date.