Intel Details Upcoming Mobile and Six-Core Processors

With the International Solid-State Circuits Conference less than a week away, Intel has released additional details on its hexa-core desktop, next generation mobile and dual-core Westmere processors. Much of the dual-core data was revealed last month when the CPU manufacturer launched Clarkdale (our review is here if you want additional information on the CPU and its integrated graphics core). When Intel set its internal goals for what its calling Westmere 6C, the company aimed to boost both core and cache count by 50 percent without increasing the processor's thermal envelope. Towards this end, the new Westmere chips will incorporate additional technologies to reduce the CPU's power consumption at idle.



Westmere 6C (codename Gulftown) is a native six-core chip as shown above. Intel has crammed 1.17 billion transistors into a die that's approximately 240mm sq. The new chip carries 12MB up L3 (up from Nehalem's 8MB) and a TDP of 130W at 3.33GHz. In addition to the addition of hardware AES encryption instruction decode support, Intel has made a number of improvements to Gulftown's power consumption. Up until now, Intel's efforts to reduce CPU power consumption focused on what it calls the "Core"; the "Uncore" hardware couldn't be powered down or controlled to the same degree. Starting with Westmere, both sections of the CPU can be fine-tuned to minimize power consumption without adversely affecting processor performance. As part of its bid to increase CPU complexity and performance without driving up system-level power consumption, Westmere will also support low-voltage DDR3, which uses an operating voltage of 1.35v (down from 1.5v standard). According to Intel, using the lower voltage memory reduces memory power consumption by about 20 percent overall.

Mobile



The big mobile-specific tech that Intel has debuted with Arrandale (32nm Westmere 2C) is a Turbo Boost for graphics mode. While Intel's standard Turbo mode is available as well, the chip can also cut CPU frequency and ramp the IGP higher to improve graphics performance. Intel refers to this as "HD Graphics with dynamic frequency." How much of a boost this mode can deliver depends on which processor you've got. Intel's spec sheets for the Core i3 processor list a 500MHz standard frequency with a 667MHz maximum dynamic frequency while the Core i5 mobile parts top out at 766MHz. That's 1.33x and 1.53x above stock, respectively.



There are two ways to take Intel's Dynamic Frequency technology. On the one hand, it's true that Intel's integrated GPUs have historically been terrible choices for gaming; what the parts have lacked in hardware functionality, they've made up for in terrible driver support. Arrandale's integrated IGP is more advanced than any of its desktop predecessors, but the "new" features Intel baked into the on-die GPU, such as hierarchical Z support, are technologies ATI and NVIDIA launched nearly nine years ago. Trailing your competition is one thing, trailing your competition by a decade is something else entirely.

On the other hand, however, Intel's new IGP is indisputably the fastest, most gaming-friendly part the company has ever built. A 33 percent (or 53 percent) higher clockspeed isn't going to turn Arrandale's IGP into a discrete part from ATI or NVIDIA, but it should provide noticable performance improvements provided that the processor speed tradeoff doesn't obscure them. The ability to trade CPU cycles for GPU horsepower gives even a modest system additional flexibility; it's easy to see how this sort of capability could end up integrated into Intel's Atom product line in the not-too-distant future.

And Now For Something Completely Different



In addition to its x86 CPU briefings, Intel will present a number of paper's at the ISSCC. Chief among these are the company's ongoing research into so-called "digital intelligence," high-speed point-to-point interconnects, and reconfigurable computing. Intel will also give more details on a 48-core single-chip processor it unveiled last December. One of the features the company will discuss is the chip's use of so-called circuit switching rather than packet switching when passing messages. By mapping out the route from core to core before actually sending a message, Intel claims it can vastly accelerate the speed at which information is passed within the chip structure.
Via:  Intel
Comments
3vi1 4 years ago

The cpu's do sound promising - can't wait to see the actual performance.

>> On the other hand, however, Intel's new IGP is indisputably the fastest, most gaming-friendly part the company has ever built.

It's also also one of the most edible, though I wouldn't recommend it for use in gaming or your diet. But, the article author knew this too - as seen by the nVidia/ATI mentions.

gibbersome 4 years ago

[quote] Trailing your competition is one thing, trailing your competition by a decade is something else entirely. [/quote]

 

And now they're only 8 years or so behind! Lol 3vi1, I agree with you. From a budget laptop consumer's perspective, any improvement on the IGP's is good.

This is a good time to release a hexa-core chip for Intel, especially with Apple's own processors set to challenge the Atom. Great details on the i7-980x, even with its $999 price tag, it looks very promising. How much use will the average user get out of its six cores clocked at 3.33GHz? ...that remains to be decided.

I see these primarily appealing for servers and PC enthusiasts. Laptops are already burdened by the power requirements and heat of quad-core chips, when dual cores work just as well for the vast majority of tasks.

mentaldisorder 4 years ago

"I see these primarily appealing for servers and PC enthusiasts. Laptops are already burdened by the power requirements and heat of quad-core chips, when dual cores work just as well for the vast majority of tasks."

Agreed...Six cores would be nice, but it seems like an ego trip if you ask me. For once, I want the software atleast use every bit of my hardware. Maybe Intel could look into the software department since they are now expanding their gpus. I still want to know what happens if your gpu fails on one of the igpus.

marco c 4 years ago

"This is a good time to release a hexa-core chip for Intel, especially with Apple's own processors set to challenge the Atom."

Not a chance. The A4 is in a totally different league than Atom, and won't appear in anyting other than niche Apple products or the iPhone (potentially).

rapid1 4 years ago

Yeah as Marco was saying, when I read some of you saying the A4 competing with Atom, I don't think that's even close to true. Yes Apple bought a bottom dwelling chip manufacturer and even got there processes in the bargain. However; Intel has been making processors for decades now. So even there lowest end CPU like the Atom is beyond the A4, it is just specialized specifically for the iPad uses. Competing anywhere past the very first Atom would most likely be difficult, maybe not, but competing with a P4 initial, or an Athlon XP of that period I am quite sure either would blow it out of the water if put on modern compatible chipsets and memory structure.

As for six cores being operational or advantageous is another story I think. Software today to a large percentage does not make full use of 4 core, I bet it does not even use 2 cores max if it does, it won't do it for 3 unless in a special application. Now with a 4 core to some extent software will spread operation across them, but more because the split is done by the processor to keep all cores down ( like the clock down 2 and oc 2 automatically or even 1 oc'd depending on what the software is using (single core maxed 2 sleeping 1 standby).

This 6 core I imagine will be a bigger boost to your ego than your computers speed or efficiency. They have been out for a while now (multi core cpu's), and were going through a ramp up for DX11 right now to. So the next software, and windows 7 will be able to (games etc) or can (Win7) adapt and use 2 or more cores now or in the near future. Also don't forget with the advance in memory technology in size and speed the memory can probably feed more cpu cycles than even available with 6 cores is the software can fill enough memory. Memory is hungry it will do it's work as fast and with as much shoved into it as it can.

(current max of somewhere near 2.5ghz x3 in tri channel memory where cpu's operate at a max of 3 up only on super cooling even the most oc'd cpu on nitrogen is what 7 where 3 x 2.5 is 7.5 (with standard air cooling and some heatsinks)

The software market as I have said forever is still far behind hardware really. The only games to really stress a CPU in the last 2 years is what Crysis(original) and Farcry 1/2. Some other's may have offered some stress, but not to the point of locking a system up on a regular basis unless both the CPU and Memory/GPU were high enough clocks operationally.

I may be over stating it somewhat I still don't believe anyone needs anything over 4 now if that. Those last 2 cores at least at release time are gonna be so bored your cpu will commit suicide after a month because those cores won't shut up asking for something to do.

gibbersome 4 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"]

"This is a good time to release a hexa-core chip for Intel, especially with Apple's own processors set to challenge the Atom."

Not a chance. The A4 is in a totally different league than Atom, and won't appear in anyting other than niche Apple products or the iPhone (potentially).

[/quote]

 

Oops, thanks for the clarification Marco and rapid1. I've been reading articles about the A4 chip and may have jumped to some unwarranted conclusions. I guess it's safe to say that we won't be seeing Atom processors in any Apple products anytime soon.

http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2010/01/apple_snubbed_i.php

acarzt 4 years ago

"mapping out the route from core to core before actually sending a message"

What kind of effects would this have on latency? This sounds to me like it would require a few extra cycles to complete. In my mind the way I see it seems like this would make things slower, but more reliable?

I think it would be fine to occasionally send a small packet to find the best route and then continuously use that route for those packets. Of course i'm comparing networking to CPUs lol But it seems to be kind of the same concept.Or perhaps if there was some kind of known map where packets could change direction on the fly, by knowing the best path from any given location ahead of time. Without having to check before it goes. Of course maybe they are already doing this, and I am misunderstanding. :-)

bighorse 4 years ago

If Intel can pull this off they might improve their place with IGP. They won't overtake ATI or Nvidia by a long shot but if they can pull off these improvements we won't have to cry when we see Intel IGP inside.

For the Hex-core, It sounds like it will be on killer chip as it is murdering your wallet. It will be powerful, fast, and take the 3dmark score even higher. For the low easy price of one million dollars, Muhahaha.

ttvinko 4 years ago

Amazing, They just keep getting better and better!

Ress

 

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