Intel has quietly published a reference manual of its upcoming Poulson Itanium processors.
According to the 512-page manual, there will be four eight-core versions of Poulson, the 9520, 9540, 9550 and 9560 models. The chip will replace the Tukwila-based Itanium 9300 quad-core series that was introduced in February 2010 and is manufactured in 65 nm. The die size will be 544 mm2, which is considerably smaller than the 699 mm2 of its predecessor.
Among the new features of the processor is Intel's Instruction Replay Technology, which allows the CPU to recover from pipeline errors much faster as the execution does not rely on an entire pipeline flush, but simply restarts at the last known correct position.
The document also provides information about dual domain (front-end/back-end) hyper-threading, which makes its debut with Poulson. According to the manufacturer, the expanded hyper-threading approach, which will still allow two threads per physical processor, and the decoupled pipeline enable instruction fetch and instruction execution to operate independently and run much more efficiently: For example, the front-end can perform instruction fetch for either thread regardless of which thread the back-end is executing.
Intel was originally expected to launch Poulson sometime in Q2 of 2012.