Intel Clarkdale Core i5 Desktop Processor Debuts

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Avid followers of the PC technology scene are no doubt familiar with the concept of CPU + GPU fusion. AMD has been talking about its Fusion project for years, which will feature advanced processor and graphics cores on a single chip. Well, we're not quite there yet, not on the desktop at least, but Intel is taking us one step closer with Clarkdale. Yes, we said Intel.

A couple of weeks ago, we evaluated Intel's Pinetrail platform for netbooks, which features an Atom CPU core, fused to a graphics processor on a single, monolithic die. Today, Intel is taking a similar approach in the desktop space with the company's much more powerful Clarkdale family of processors, although Clarkdale's integrated graphics processor isn't on-die--it is on the same package as the CPU though.

Clarkdale-based processors feature a number of cutting edge Intel technologies. For one, the processor cores are manufactured using a 32nm high-k process. They also feature Intel Turbo Mode technology, Hyper-Threading, AES acceleration, and Intel's latest graphics processing core, branded Intel HD Graphics, that also happens to house a memory controller and PCI Express connectivity.

The Clarkdale architecture will be used for a whole family of new processors in the Core i5, Core i3, and Pentium series. We've had one of the higher-end offerings in house for a few weeks, the Core i5 661, and have been putting it through its paces for most of that time. Read on for the full scoop...

Clarkdale Processor with Integrated Graphics, H57 Chipset

Intel Core i5 "Clarkdale" Desktop Processors
Specifications & Features


Clarkdale GPU and CPU Dies To Scale

Some may be confused into thinking Clarkdale is simply a die-shrink of Lynnfield with graphics attached, that is actually not the case. As the above image shows, Clarkdale's memory controller and PCI Express lanes are actually integrated into the graphics core, and not the CPU as they are with Lynnfield. Also note, the graphics core is physically larger than the CPU core, even though it is comprised of less than half the number of transistors. This is due to the fact that the graphics core is manufactured at 45nm whereas the CPU is manufactured at 32nm, as we've mentioned. To be more specific, the 32nm CPU die is comprised of 383 Million transistors, and is about 81mm2, while the 45nm graphics die is made up of roughly 177 Million transistors, and is 114mm2.

There's lots more to talk about though. First we'll cover the Core i5 661 and high-level features of Clarkdale, and will move on to the Intel HD Graphics engine, and new chipsets from there...

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rapid1 4 years ago

     How are these on a heat dissipation scale. I know in general GPU's run hotter than CPU's when in use, in many cases considerably so especially when built on a 45nm or larger scale. The GPU on these chips are therefore (at the 45nm spectrum) considerably larger and use more power thereby producing this higher heat level. I also notice on these units they are quite close together leading to heat bleed inside a package, or at least I would fear. I also noticed you overclocked it which would lead to even more heat. In general heat is bad in a case like this component build I would think it to be quite high on anything over stock, and even at stock. I was thinking about this the other day while thinking about another issue. The first group who buys in many cases are the enthusiasts. The enthusiasts also generally want more for there money, and therefore in many cases will OC.  Therefore it would actually be in a companies interest to release unlocked high end components. Then a good amount of those who buy them will OC(overclock) them and the component lifespan would then be shortened. This would seem to be a varying point, but in any way across the board would occur to some point. The consumer who does this will also almost always turn around and buy a new on as well as components to go with it (MB,Ram,GPU etc), thereby feeding the market. So you look at the enthusiast market which is generally called a small sector of said hardware market, but if because of things such as this they buy double the amount of hardware in half the time of a normal user they purchase 4 times what a general user does. So is that market sector really small? Anyway with these thoughts regarding unlocked CPU's and or other components would such heat issues not least to a greater turnaround rate for the market in general or Intel at least with a component like this on a much broader spectrum and doubly (or 8 times if they already purchase at a 4 times greater frequency)  with the enthusiast market.

realneil 4 years ago

This doesn't seem to be the solution if you're an Extreme Gamer kind of guy. I wouldn't consider it for such use anyway,....It's more like a mainstream setup and with proper cooling should do what they say it will over the life expectancy of the unit. A real high end CPU and the GPU of your choice is the way to go for OC'ing madness. I just can't see the merging of CPU and GPU as being groundbreaking in any way other than the technical aspects of actually doing such a thing.

I'm stuck on the Idea that they remain separate and be interchangeable separately.

Again, this would be the processor you buy for Mom's Pogo games and e-mail fun.

rapid1 4 years ago

yeah that's true I was just talking about the heat of this unit contained in such a small space. with both a cpu and gpu in one package it has to cut into the life span of such a component it would seem to me.

Marco C 4 years ago

Well, they run cool, so I wouldn't be concerned with the additional heat of the GPU affecting the lifespan.

Also keep in mind, it's not a single die. As long as a proper heatsink is used, heat will be dissipated without an issue.

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

Embedded solutions will benefit from integration in the future.

giantjoebot 4 years ago

I wonder how the GPU is going to do. Seems like a strong CPU with a weak GPU. Good for office work, and grandma. I think AMD's fusion will be more balanced, and a better deal for most people that want to do more that use office and browse the web.

bob_on_the_cob 4 years ago

[quote user="giantjoebot"]

I wonder how the GPU is going to do. Seems like a strong CPU with a weak GPU. Good for office work, and grandma. I think AMD's fusion will be more balanced, and a better deal for most people that want to do more that use office and browse the web.


I really agree with this. I don't think these are aimed at us at all. I think they are more for Dell and will help Intel keep that IGP market theirs.

EnigmaCypher7 4 years ago

I doubt that this is really geared for the "High-End gamer".

This however, will really be step up from the more business related desktop machines. A lot of the Dell systems that I see at work host the "Intel(R) G33/G31 Express Chipset Family", and that is on the better, newer side of the the "fence". Some programs, require a bit more video to run properly and some clients don't want to see video card upgrades in their budget. Not for Office machines anyways. This solution will help alleviate some of these issues at hand.

Also you have to think of the "Lite Gamer" Intel integrated video won't run a whole lot, this will help them with some of their problems as well.

And last but not least, the whole HD everything kick. Blue-ray Dvd drives/burners are really becoming a more common place as their prices have been steadily dropping. This will be Intels "marketing-intro", if you will, to keep up with this technology as well.

I am of course referring to "Cookie Cutter systems" such as Dell, Hp, Acer, and the like.

InfinityzeN 4 years ago

Considering the price and what you can get instead of one of these things, they really serve no purpose.  Lets take a $200 cpu and stick a crappy $5 gpu on chip.  Now lets sell it for $300!  These integrated i5's are not worth it in the slightest, more along the lines of an "Us First!" before AMD's Fusion comes out.

Now the i3's at $100~133 are a much better deal if you don't need anything past integrated graphics.

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