Intel described yesterday how it could combine four Itanium 2 cores that share a large cache memory to create a processor with more than 1 billion transistors :
In a keynote address here at the Microprocessor Forum, Intel fellow John Crawford said such a design is "imminently doable" from a die-size and manufacturing standpoint and that "we would expect something of this nature coming out."
Crawford did not disclose specific plans for such a processor, though he said Intel will be able to design and build a 1-billion-transistor microprocessor using 65-nanometer process technology by 2007.
Crawford went on to describe a hypothetical processor that would contain four Itanium 2 cores and 12 to 16 megabytes of shared cache memory, all connected through a leaf interconnect scheme. Each Itanium 2 processor would contain about 120 million transistors while the cache would carry 700 million to 950 million transistors, bringing the total transistor budget to well over 1 billion, he said
Other technologies Intel is developing would improve the performance of managed run-time environments like Java and .Net; incorporate more hardware features to deter hacking; and slow down certain paths in a processor design with too much "slack" in order to contain chip size and power consumption, Crawford said.