Please remember to take any and all hardware rumors with a grain of salt. That said, let's talk about Intel's upcoming CPU family, dubbed Nehalem. We have heard rumors such as: socket interoperability between Xeons and Itenium CPUs on the server front, the onboard memory controller on all models, and of course the obligatory mentioning of 8-cores is always interesting.
Today we're getting our first inkling of what the L2 cache might be like, and if the rumors are true your next high-end rig could have a up to whopping 24 MB of shared L2 cache! We're not exactly sure if that's the same as Penryn's 12 MB (really two seperate 6 MB caches), a single unified 24 MB chunk, or some third option. Regardless, 24 MB is simply stunning. For those interested, here is the current breakdown of features each of the Nehalem family chips will bring to their respect market segments:
"Mainstream Dual-Core Havendale/Auburndale: mobile Nehalem-based Havendale/Auburndale. Integrated GPU core. Two CPU cores with a shared 4MB cache connected, via a Quick Path Interconnect (QPI), to a Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH), then to the GPU packing a DDR3 memory controller. Also: Thermal Design Power (TDP) under 95 watts (W), PCI Express Gen2 x16.
Octo-Core Nehalem-EX (Beckton): 8 CPU cores, 16 threads, 24MB shared cache, 90/105/130W TDP, 4 QPI links, QPI link controller, integrated memory controller.
Extreme-Performance Bloomfield: 4 CPU cores, 8 threads, 8MB shared cache, 130W TDP, DDR3, QPI link.
Quad-Core DP (dual-processor) Nehalem-EP (Gainestown): 4 CPU cores, 8 threads, 8MB shared cache, 60/80/130W TDP, DDR3 800/1066/1333 (memory), QPI link, integrated memory controller.
Performance Mainstream Quad-Core Lynnfield/Clarkfield: 4 CPU cores, 8 threads, 8MB shared cache, 95W, DDR3, PCI Express Gen2, integrated memory controller."
The continual mention of threads may have something to do with the hyperthreading rumor that has been going around for a while now. We're not entirely sure that this is accurate, but we'll certainly keep you informed as Nehalem's launch draws closer.