Intel to launch 32nm CPUs this week

Intel chipset

Intel is set to launch a range of CPUs based on its new 32nm architecture, codenamed "Westmere", this Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The company will introduce the new lightweight Core i3 range, as well as extending the mid-range and workstation Core i5 and Core i7 brands on both the desktop and mobile platforms.

The architecture brings multiple benefits for businesses. Power consumption is cut by the move to smaller transistors, and further reduced by aggressive power gating, which automatically shuts down portions of the chip that aren't in use. As a result, notebooks based on the new processors can expect improved battery life over older Centrino models, while idle desktops can draw as little as half the power of their Core 2-branded predecessors.

The new chips also integrate a GPU directly into the processor package, alongside the CPU die, reducing the size and complexity of the overall system. The Intel HD Graphics chip lacks the power of a meaty desktop graphics card, but it's more than capable of running office and internet applications, and boasts hardware decoding for Blu-ray discs and other video applications.

A last bonus for businesses is a set of new processor instructions designed specifically for AES encryption, enabling compatible software to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data at greatly accelerated speeds.

The new processors are set to replace Intel's Core 2 series a move that's unlikely to have a major impact on system pricing, but should bring significant performance benefits as well as reduced power

consumption. Intel claims that in independent multitasking benchmarks the new mobile Core i5-430 proves 34 per cent faster than the established Core 2 Duo P7550, while on the desktop the i5-650 beats the Core 2 Quad Q8400 by 43 per cent.

Turn to the next page for technical details.

Darien Graham-Smith

Darien began his IT career in the 1990s as a systems engineer, later becoming an IT project manager. His formative experiences included upgrading a major multinational from token-ring networking to Ethernet, and migrating a travelling sales force from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

He subsequently spent some years acting as a one-man IT department for a small publishing company, before moving into journalism himself. He is now a regular contributor to IT Pro, specialising in networking and security, and serves as associate editor of PC Pro magazine with particular responsibility for business reviews and features.

You can email Darien at, or follow him on Twitter at @dariengs.