Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Core i7 - Intel Launches New Desktop Processor -

Intel Launches New Desktop Processor | Gadget Lab from Wired.com
Following AMD's launch of its latest server chips last week, it's Intel's turn to be in the spotlight.

Intel plans to launch its newest generation of desktop processors on Monday. Called Core i7, the chips are aimed at the high-end desktop and gaming market.

The move puts Intel ahead of its rival AMD by more than a few months, as AMD's comparable desktop processor isn't scheduled to launch until early next year.

"AMD now just doesn't have a competitive chip against Intel on the desktop," says Patrick Wang, an analyst with brokerage firm Wedbush Morgan.

And until AMD launches its product, Intel is going to be the only option for consumers who want the latest chips for their computers, says Wang.

The Core i7 will be almost four to six times faster than Intel's current platform, says the company, and will have greater power efficiency than ever. It is based on the 45-nanometer production technology that first appeared in a server chip called Xeon (aka Penryn), which debuted earlier this year.

The 45-nm chips utilize smaller circuitry than the previous, 65-nm generation, making them faster, and also enabling Intel to manufacture them more cheaply.

The new Core i7 chips are based on a newly designed microarchitecture called Nehalem, which includes major design changes in areas such as power management and integrated memory control.

The first three quad-core Core i7 chips from Intel will reintroduce "hyperthreading" technology, which gives the chips the ability to execute 8 threads simultaneously on 4 processing cores, greatly increasing their processing power. Hyperthreading was seen earlier in Pentium 4 chips and some Xeon processors from Intel.

Core i7 processors are also different from their predecessors in that they have "QuickPath," a new microarchitecture that integrates memory controller into each microprocessor. QuickPath will replace Front Side Bus used in Xeon and Itanium platforms.

The move increases the bandwidth directly available to the processor, reducing lag time before a CPU can begin executing the next instruction.

"Core i7 will be one of the first Intel chips to integrate a memory controller," says Shane Rau, PC analyst at research firm IDC, "though it is something AMD has had for a while."

Intel is taking no chances with Core i7. The company has spent millions to test the chips and ensure flaws in it don't trip it up, says The New York Times.

In the past, both Intel and AMD have paid a big price for bugs in their chips. In 1994, Intel's Pentium chips sported a tiny error in floating-point calculation that led to a product recall.

More recently, AMD's Barcelona range of chips that launched last year were delayed by months after discovery of flaws that among other things caused systems to lock up and crash.
Intel Launches New Desktop Processor | Gadget Lab from Wired.com
The switch to 45nm does not make a CPU faster, it enables higher clockspeeds since it requires less current to change states on a smaller transistor. This produces less heat and allows higher clockspeeds. This also assumes the architecture is the same, which i7 has been changed A LOT. SMT is back and SSE 4.2 instructions are added. Trichannel DDR3 and a integrated memory controller superior to AMD's (who can't hit high clockspeeds because of it).
Intel Launches New Desktop Processor | Gadget Lab from Wired.com
don't sell AMD short. Without AMD on the playing field, we'd still be using 32 bit, single core, P4 processors from Intel. Only they'd be smaller and faster and much more expensive.
Competition inspires innovation.
So, if you are an Intel fan, thank AMD for prompting Intel to come out with multi-core, high performance chips.

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