Six core processors coming this year

Intel has revealed details of its first processor with more than four cores: a six-core monster destined for server installations that will be here in the second half of this year.

Currently codenamed Dunnington, the chip will employ 1.9 billion 45nm transistors, all packed onto a single silicon die. It’s Intels first ‘native’ multicore processor: current quad-core dies are based on two separate dual-core dies in a single physical package.

Nonetheless, it’s still based on the current-generation technology, containing “six instances of Penryn [Core 2] design,” according to according to Intel’s principal engineer Ronak Singhai.

Abandoning the neat symmetrical design of Penryn CPUs, the Dunnington die sports three dual-core sets of processors squeezed into various corners of its single die, with cache squeezed into the gaps.

The cache setup is different to other Penryns, though, with a third level containing 16MB, which largely accounts for the incredibly high transistor count.

The Dunnington processor looks destined to be released in server versions only, taking the baton from current Xeon 7300 Tigerton-series chips. On the desktop the company has also revealed disappointing details of the new Nehalem processors.

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