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Intels Corporation continuously seeks to improve the performance of each Intel Architecture microprocessor generation through architectural initiatives as well as process and circuit improvements. The predecessor to the Penryn family of processors, the 65nm Intel Core microarchitecture, codename Merom, led the competition in performance. This paper illustrates architecture techniques used by Intel in the family of processors to maintain this leadership position. The new SSE ISA improvements (dubbed SSE4.1) are discussed, and one looks at how the Penryn family of processors was able to utilize the Merom SSE enhancements to both enable SSE4.1 and improve legacy instructions.
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