Intel to trim power consumption of desktop CPUs in half by H2 2006

Chicago (IL) - New Intel processor roadmaps suggest that the company will aggressively reduce the power consumption of its higher end desktop processors with the introduction of the "Conroe" family in the second half of next year. By then, Intel will also have a 64-bit refresh for Yonah ready and introduce a Celeron M-branded single-core Yonah.

Power consumption recently has become a major issue not only for mobile processors, but for desktop processors as well. While buyers of performance PCs never have and probably never will judge their purchase decision by the power consumption of a computer, high-end devices have reached alarming power levels. And it was mainly Intel that seemingly could not to create processors that are not only faster than a previous generation but also more efficient in the way they consume electricity.

Intel promised us in earlier conversations that its engineers are working on reducing the power consumption of its desktop processors. But it was unclear when this will happen. Documents seen by Tom's Hardware Guide now indicate that the new processor architecture code-named "Conroe" and scheduled for the second half of 2006 will deliver on this promise. If we believe our sources, then Intel is targeting a power consumption of about 60 to 70 watts per processor - or 30 to 35 watts per core.

According to an updated roadmap, Conroe will carry over the 900 sequence number that will be introduced with Presler, the 65 nm version of the current Pentium D 800. Conroe will launch as 940, 950 and likely as 960 version with clock speeds that have not been specified yet. However, we know that Conroe will fit in the LGA775 package of the Pentium D 800 and 900, support Intel's virtualization technology, and will not offer Hyper-Threading capability. The processor will be available in two versions - with 2 MByte and 4 MByte of L2 Cache.

On the mobility side, Intel is quickly approaching the finish line of the development of the Napa platform which includes the Yonah single- and dual-core processors. Napa is prepped as a late Christmas present and scheduled to be launched in the first half of January 2006. Yonah will make a broad debut, targeting all notebook segments as well as entertainment PCs and Mac mini-like small form factor PCs in combination with the 945GT chipset. The processor will receive a major refresh in the second half of 2006: The "Merom" chip will bring a 64-bit upgrade and 4 MByte L2 cache (twice the size of Yonah's L2) and continue to offer a 667 MHz FSB.

While Yonah's sequence number in the Pentium M family has not been revealed yet, Intel's current roadmap lists the new Celeron M 410, 420 and 430 processors, which will be based on a single-core Yonah version that is equipped with 1 MByte of L2 cache and a 533 MHz FSB.

Related stories:
Intel to aims to decrease power consumption of desktop processors to 60 watts
More clock speed for Pentium D with arrival of 900-series