Intel Says New Chip to Grow Online HD

Plans for a new line of microprocessor chips designed to speed the amount and quality of HD content on the Internet were unveiled this week by Intel. It said it has added a set of 46 new “instructions” (SSE4) to the microprocessors, which will first begin appearing in the market by early 2008—to be branded as Intel Core 2 and Xeon.

The firm said the new chip grows computing power, which will result in eliminating virtually all the stuttering and other negative effects that plague a lot of video currently online, even with broadband connections. Intel said in many cases the new chips will permit full-screen, high-resolution video imaging and fast-motion sequences that will be an improvement (albeit still not technically equivalent to 1080i or 720p).

A growing demand for more video on the World Wide Web (the universally accessible Web sites portion of the Internet) is resulting in increased burdens on major online content providers. Most video files must be compressed, but then only partial decompression on the user-end often leads to lesser-quality video. Intel is counting on its new chip family to negate much of that problem, according to The New York Times.

Intel’s new chip scheme uses as many as 16 processors and is based on what Intel says is a novel manufacturing procedure that grows computing performance while at the same time reduces power consumption. Using the moniker “Penryn,” a re-engineered transistor (half the size of its predecessor) switches faster and leaks less current than previous types.

Penryn chips have been refined to a mere 45 nanometers—dramatically smaller than previously—where as many as 820 million transistors could be placed on a single silicon die, Intel said. Already in production on a limited scale, the firm said it will be manufacturing mass quantities of the new chips in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Israel by 2008.