Intel Nehalem coming out tomorrow

, posted: 17-Nov-2008 15:08

Intel SkullIt's been a while since I thought about the processor or CPU inside my computers - Intel's dual and quad Core 2 provide ample performance for most of my needs. If anything, I'd need a new video card (or cards even), some more RAM (4GB plus is where it's at) and faster hard drives.
Still, Intel's new 45nm "Nehalem" or Core i7 processor is a tempting upgrade. The benchmarks I've seen point to Nehalem providing 45 to 55 per cent better performance than "Penryn" CPUs, and there's the return of HyperThreading as well. Yep, HT. Your four-core CPU will have four logical processors as well, so you'll see eight "processors" in Windows Task Manager. Eight cores, eight logical processors, sixteen threads. That could make Windows 7 happy, as its kernel comes with multicore optimisations.
Core i7
There's heaps more in Nehalem, like an integrated memory controller that supports triple-channel DD3 memory, managed cores and caches for energy-efficiency, and lower latencies throughout the processor. Nehalam was talked about at the last Intel Developer Forum I attended, and I note that the chip giant has indeed delivered on what it promised then.
It looks like the Core i7-965 will run at 3.2GHz and there's a 920 part too, that'll run at 2.66GHz. 
There are new X58 and ICH10 chip set parts as well from Intel:MCH X 58 MCH 10
Here's a block diagram of the X58:X56 block diagram

Some serious bandwidth there, and up to 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes... nice.
Intel's launching an enthusiast board to go with the Nehalem - the Smackover DX58SO:
Eight-layer PCB, socket 1366, six SATA ports with two of them eSATA, Matrix Storage for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, QuickPath Interconnects to the processor with 25.6GByte/s bandwidth and two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 graphics slots for ATI Crossfire. Memory support is four DDR3 up to 1600MHz and 8GB in size. I'm curious what kind of power supply will be required - here's hoping it won't have to be one of the 1kW plus monsters that I've seen lately.

UPDATE Nathan Ward says he wants three 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 slots in a board, and that made me think of the Gigabyte X58 Extreme, which has just that:

Gigabyte X58 Extreme
With three slots, you can do three-way SLI (three graphics cards working together for increased processing power) or six monitors. Don't do much gaming these days, but six screens on the other hand, me likes.


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