IDF: Inside Nehalem

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Nehalem is the codename for Intel's next generation Core microarchitecture--which has recently been given the official processor family name of "Core i7."  Nehalem was one of the big topics of discussion at IDF--and not just because it represents the next generation of Intel's processors, but also because the clock is winding down quickly on when the chip will make its official, public debut. An official date has not been given yet, but Intel is promising that we'll see Nehalem systems for sale sometime in Q4 of this year.

  

This article represents the culmination of several IDF presentations, privates meetings, and conversations with Intel representatives from this past week--most of the slides are from a presentation give by Rajesh Kumar, Intel Fellow and Director of Intel's Director, Circuit, & Low Power Technologies.

Intel claims that Nehalem represents the biggest platform architecture change to date. This might be true, but it is not a grounds-up, completely new architecture design. An Intel representative told us that Nehalem "shares a significant portion of the P6 gene pool"--it does not include many new instructions and has approximately the same sized pipeline as Penryn. Nehalem is built upon Penryn, but with significant architectural changes to improve performance and power efficiency. It includes more external ports and deeper buffers. Nehalem will be manufactured on a 45nm process and will be the basis for Intel's  forthcoming platforms, including the desktop, server, and mobile spaces.

  

One of the biggest changes Intel made with Nehalem is integrating the memory controller directly into the processor (which up to now has been located in the Northbridge of Intel's chipsets). Nehalem supports native DDR3 SDRAM memory (3 channels per socket) and up to the three DIMMs per channel. This three-channel memory architecture is a radical departure from the dual-channel SDRAM memory architecture that has existed since 2003 with the introduction of Springdale. Intel claims up to a 3.4x increase in memory bandwidth from Pernryn. As DDR3 memory speeds get faster, Intel says we could potentially see up to a 6x increase in memory bandwidth. Intel also claims that memory latencies have improved by more than 40 percent.
 
Tags:  Nehalem, HAL, IDF, id

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warlord 6 years ago

Can't wait to see some folding #'s from this platform

Fold On!!!!!

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

 man, this makes me wonder if I should hold off for a couple months. How sweet would it be to be 1 of the first few to get my hands on 1 of these things.

warlord 6 years ago

They will be in short supply and going for a premiem at first.

3vi1 6 years ago
If you can hold off, I would: Not to get this processor (which will probably cost an arm and a leg and be in short supply like warlord said), but because it's going to drive the prices way down on everything else.

Expect AMD to be offering bargain-basement deals on their top-end CPUs within two days of Nehalem's launch.
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Very good point 3vi1. I might just go out and get me a core2quad when Nehalem comes out.

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

 any word on MB's to support these new cpu's. I would imagine it wouldn't be supported by current MB's with this tri channel memory their talking about along with a few other things.

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Its going to be a new socketConfused

3vi1 6 years ago
Intel Engineer: "Look boss! It's super fast and works in LGA775!"

Boss: "You realize we sell chipsets too, right? Throw five more pins on it."
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="3vi1"]Intel Engineer: "Look boss! It's super fast and works in LGA775!"

Boss: "You realize we sell chipsets too, right? Throw five more pins on it."[/quote]

LMAF!!

warlord 6 years ago

[quote user="bob_on_the_cob"]

[quote user="3vi1"]Intel Engineer: "Look boss! It's super fast and works in LGA775!"

Boss: "You realize we sell chipsets too, right? Throw five more pins on it."[/quote]

LMAF!!

[/quote]

warlord dies of laughter

 

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

 lol. i guess the answer is no then! I am sure they will release more then 1 flavor of this cpu when it's released. can't imagine they would only have a $1000+ version of it as it only makes a very small fraction of the market

3vi1 6 years ago
They'll definitely have a few flavors, I'm just not sure if they will release them all at once or push the high-end chips out a few weeks/months earlier than the rest.

In all seriousness, regarding the chipset: It will definitely be something completely new - because the new chips have an integrated memory controller. I wonder what that's going to do, if anything, to the amount of heat generated by the northbridge?
JonathanD 6 years ago
It is the stuff of dreams :) or AMD's nightmares... either way I like it lol
bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

Don't count AMD out to soon. Nvidia just made that mistake.

warlord 6 years ago

very true but amd hasn't anything in the pipes to compete....yet

ice91785 6 years ago
This is what my next my next build will probably be -- I just have to somehow hold myself off for another 2-3 quarters or so as I am definitely not interested in spending $1000+ for a CPU. I will wait for the "non-extreme" editions happily.

I am truely excited to see official numbers and release dates
Anonymous 6 years ago
Moving the memory controller onto the chip is going to be an epic move
Cmoazz 6 years ago

Any prices out yet? Im def waiting for it. I've been long over due for a computer upgrade and can't wait for Nehalem, hopefully Intel's SSD's are out too!

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="Cmoazz"]

Any prices out yet?

[/quote]

about $300 for the lowest cpu. I think 2.6 or something like that, but boards and ddr3 are going to be high as well.

 

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

 I wonder if they will start packageing 3GB sets of ram and 6GB sets. Would make sense to me.

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="nelsoncp21"]

 I wonder if they will start packageing 3GB sets of ram and 6GB sets. Would make sense to me.

[/quote]

 

Seems only logical with the price of ram these days. DDR3 is still high but its coming down quick.

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