Intel has told the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco that its new quad core Itanium processor will carry 2bn transistors.
The new 65-nanometer Tukwila Itanium processor, which is expected to be released at the end of this year, will run at up to 2 GHz, have dual-integrated memory controllers and use Intel's QuickPath interconnect instead of a front-side bus.
Itanium, which first hit the market in 2001, targets enterprise servers and high-performance computing machines.
"The more transistors on a chip, the more work you get out of that chip," said Dean Freeman, an analyst at Gartner. "With one of these new chips, you should get better performance than you would with two chips out of the previous generation."
For some perspective, an earlier Itanium processor, Montecito, was built on 90nm technology and held 1.7 billion transistors. And Penryn, Intel's new 45nm chip for the desktop, which it released last November, has 820 million newly designed transistors.
Shiveley noted that Tukwila is expected to have double the performance of Montvale, another Itanium processor that was released late last year, while using only 25% more power. He added that the low power-consumption increase is based on new voltage frequency management technology.
"You double the performance of the previous processor for only 25% more power. That's pretty significant," said Freeman. "Before, with each new generation of processor, the power consumption would basically go up to match the performance. This is impressive. They've done some good engineering in there."