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Intel Starts Rolling Out 45nm Chips in New Fab

More chip news: MSP evangelizes vPro, AMD triple-core specs leaked to press

The $3 billion "Fab 32" is the second Intel wafer factory to produce 45nm processors and the first to do so at commercial volume. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant first produced the tiny processors in its Oregon development facility, called D1D, in January. The die shrink is made possible by a switch from silicon dioxide to a Halfnium-based high-k metal gate in the transistors Intel produces for its 45nm chips.

It's not clear how the ramp-up for Intel's 45nm products will proceed across various computing segments, but in a Thursday statement the leading x86 chipmaker said, "production of a new generation of microprocessors for PCs, laptops, servers and other computing devices officially began today."

"The magic of 45nm and our new transistor design allows us to deliver high-performance, energy-efficient processors to our customers across the entire spectrum of market segments, from the most powerful servers to a variety of mobile devices and everything in between," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini in the press release.

We All Scream for vPro

Many managed service providers have offered glowing reviews of Intel's vPro and Centrino Pro platforms. But there might not be a bigger evangelist for the system management-boosting hardware than Michael Drake, CEO of MasterIT.

Drake was in Los Angeles last week for a joint demo and testimonial with Intel for the chipmaker's business-class combos of CPU, chipset, firmware and network connection for desktops and notebooks. With various remote management capabilities built right into the vPro and Centrino Pro hardware, systems built on the platforms are increasingly popular with off-site IT management companies like MasterIT.

Drake said his young pure-play MSP company -- MasterIT was launched last January in Bartlett, Tenn. - is seeing "a perfect storm of technology coming together" with products like vPro, making managed IT services a highly attractive value proposition for companies in his regional market.

"The reason we've been successful is a perfect storm of technology coming together with vPro and other tool sets becoming so robust. You've got the ubiquity of the Internet, so businesses need to have non-stop uptime. And now you see the CEO's or the business owner's willingness to let go of IT, because we [MSPs] have matured enough as a juvenile industry to show him the money," Drake said.

MasterIT doesn't care who makes the desktops and notebooks its clients purchase for a hardware refresh, Drake said. Just so long as the new systems are built on vPro and Centrino Pro.

"When we offer our catalog of PCs and laptops, they have to be Tier 1, but we're vendor-agnostic toward the Dells, HPs and Lenovos. However, we do make sure that the catalog we show the client only has products built with vPro chipsets," he said.

MasterIT runs its own network operations center and help desk. The company uses software from N-able for remote system management, Autotask for CRM and Seagate's EVault division for remote backup. For Drake, keeping a total IT service solution under one roof is the only way to go for regional success.

"We wanted to be that one throat to choke. We wanted to answer our customers in a Southern dialect. This is the future of how technology is going to be delivered to SMBs," he said.

Details Emerge About AMD's Triple-Cores

Advanced Micro Device's 'triple-core' processors will start shipping in March 2008, according to a Wednesday report in DigiTimes.

"Sources at motherboard makers" told the Taiwanese tech journal that the processors, which AMD announced in September, "adopts a 65nm process, supports socket AM2+ motherboards and supports HyperTransport 3.0."

Codenamed Toliman, the tri-cored chips will feature 2MB L3 cache. According to DigiTimes sources, Toliman will be followed by in the first half of 2009 by 45nm triple-core CPUs built to support socket AM3, HyperTransport 3.0 and DDR2/DDR3 memory.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD would not confirm or deny the DigiTimes report.

Meanwhile, the chip maker will launch its first quad-core desktop processors in December and looks set to release its 'Spider' platform for high-end gaming PCs in mid-November, according to sources.

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