The one constant in the world of computer technology is change. Intel in their quest to maintain ‘Moores Law’ have now moved into the production phase of the 45nm processor. Internally known as Penryn this family of processors seem poised to take the world by storm. The 45nm technology makes it possible to pack a whopping 820 million transistors on a wafer of silicone the size of your fingernail. The Pentium 4 when it was first shipped had, at the time, a mind boggling 30 million transistors.

The boost in performance should be very significant, in fact even Windows Vista should run relatively well. Most analysts are guessing that we will see something in the region of a 50% increase in raw speed. The 45nm technology also opens the gates to an up to 8 core processor. Needless to say this has AMD at a disadvantage. But I doubt this lead will last very long, AMD will be fighting back soon.

Of course raw power is one thing, software being able to use the multi core in a sensible way is something completely different. Most software is not designed for the technology, so the reality is that you will spend top dollar and see little difference in performance. In fact is you are like me, I use my computer for mundane tasks like writing articles, checking emails, web browsing, and listening to music, having 820 million transistors in the CPU will matter less than nothing. But you sure will have bragging rights if you get one of these puppies, it will take Windows much less time to crash than on an old and slow Pentium 4!

Simon Barrett

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