Intel Core i7-2600K and i5-2500K Processors Debut - HotHardware

Intel Core i7-2600K and i5-2500K Processors Debut

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As we’ve mentioned, the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is almost completely new. The out of order execution engines and the Floating Point units in Sandy Bridge were re-designed from the ground up in an effort to further optimize for power efficiency and performance over previous Intel processor designs.

In the OOO engines, Intel went to a physical register file. This reduces die area and can also lower power because it eliminates duplicated data in various registers and minimizes the amount of of data movement around the chip. This, and other techniques used in the OOO engines allowed Intel to incorporate larger OOO buffers, which also provide a bigger window to find Instruction Level Parallelism (ILP), which can increase performance on legacy code. The reduction in register space and data movement is also essential for AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions), where data vectors are 2x the size of previous generations. AVX is a new set of instructions in Sandy Bridge that improves Floating Point and Vector computation performance.

The brand prediction units in Sandy Bridge were also completely redesigned. Intel’s branch predictors in Nehalem were already very efficient, but changes were made to the branch predictors in Sandy Bridge to provide more accuracy through more branch targets, more branch history and other mechanisms, while keeping similar die area to Nehalem. According to Intel, the changed here included “better representation of the additional information (such as longer history) in the same or similar amounts of bits. For example, split targets into close ones (that require less address bits for knowing the distance) and far ones (that require all the address bits). Similarly for history – find out what history can be reduced, and use the freed-up bits for the branches that require more history.”

Sandy Bridge is also outfitted with new micro-op cache. The decoded micro-OP cache provides high and consistent bandwidth, at much lower latency, than the traditional front end decode path. It also provides the UOPs at much lower power than the traditional front end.

The cache structure in SB is somewhat of a departure from previous designs as well. There are specific amounts of L1 and L2 cache per CPU core and a larger Last Level Cache that both the CPU and graphics cores can share. The LLC helps both 3D graphics and Media (video) by providing very high bandwidth, low latency and low power data repository. Intel also built in a fine grained shared cache control at the per data stream (or data buffer) level for the graphics core that allows us to fine tune the cache sharing. For example, for H.264 video decoding, Intel was able to cut down the DRAM bandwidth by roughly 50% by mapping small scratch buffers to the last level cache while allowing other large video buffers to bypass the LLC.

Another new feature of Sandy Bridge is a high-bandwidth, low-latency ring bus that links all of the core elements in the processor. The system agent, CPU execution cores, graphics core, and last level cache are all linked on the ring bus, which is used to quickly route date to and from these core processor elements.

Making a return on Sandy Bridge is Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, but it too has been revamped. In addition to allowing the CPU cores to be dynamically overclocked, Turbo can also boost the frequency of Sandy Bridge’s integrated graphics core as well. In addition, the new Turbo Boost implementation will also allow Sandy Bridge processors to run beyond their rated TDP in short spurts to further increase performance.

 

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Amazing !! Truly amazing , the performance of the 2600k is quite Spectacular. Intel Rocks.

Awesome review, easy to understand, and well laid out...2 Thumbs up.  (brb later with some questions)

Edit: Props for the EFI Bios video demonstration on the ASUS board, that's gonna be a hot seller!!

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damn these CPUs look sexy

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Thanks folks. Marco did kick butt on this one and so did Intel!

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An excellent look at what's new from Intel. Thanks for all of the hard work and attention to details Marco.

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I blindly expect it from Marco now. Not to say that is good, or that his efforts are unappreciated, as that is not at all the case. Marco is just one of the kings of bench marking and product reviews :) Anyway; much like what I said on the mobile side of things, while very impressive I will still be looking at the next Tock before anything would be bought for me personally. I know Intel as always will amaze us on the next one to begin with, there are also things not included on this Tock that I would want. Things such as SATA and USB3 to begin with as well as there new BIOS product and there new COM specification which should be out on the next Tick I thin, and therefore optimized on the Tock as well. Technology is just moving both blindingly fast in at's capabilities today as well as in it's implementation/capabilities as well.

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DAM nice, i love the bios they made. Your hard works paid off Marco, Great Review.

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WOW what  great write-up ! Certainly the one we been waiting for.

I was really amazed to see what Asus did in the Bios & what kinda $$ these are going to be going for.

Thanks Marco !

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Nice read! I'm sure I will have to go back, there was a lot of info there. Msi890fxa-gd75? 990fx? I hope there's a review in order...;-)

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thars alot of info you must have had these for months ill have to read this agin the price is not as bad as i thought it would be but im with rapid1 ill have to wait. has evga made a mobo yet? good artical marco hope you and the family had a great holliday

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dadodgeson:

has evga made a mobo yet?

Yea, the EVGA P67 Classified, but it's strange that they haven't been marketing their P67 line-up.   Asus, Gigabyte, Asrock and Intel have been working hard on promoting their Sandy Bridge motherboards, but EVGA has stayed mostly quiet . One thing I do know and see, is that EVGA's cards are everywhere, so maybe they are cooking up some hot sauce ingredients for 1155 to dazzle @ C.E.S ....

 

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