Direct from Computex, we have some world exclusive pictures of a still unnamed pair of 45nm Penryn-based quad-core microprocessors from Intel. To combat AMD’s upcoming native, quad-core Barcelona CPU and its accompanying 4x4 platform (QuadFX), Intel is planning to introduce its own, dual-socket, dual quad-core CPU equipped enthusiast platform later this year. With this platform Intel will bring eight cores to the desktop enthusiast space along with a number of other sought after features.
Although we only have preliminary information regarding these processors and their accompanying platform, we can tell that they are based on Intel’s LGA771 packaging, the packaging that is used with Intel’s current Xeon processors. These processors will be housed in a dual socket LGA771 motherboard (Skulltrail) that will feature multiple PCI Express x16 slots. We also know that this platform will only support FBDIMMs - at least in the beginning - making it pretty obvious that like AMD, Intel has simply transformed a dual socket server platform into a dual socket desktop platform. Pricing has not been discussed, but it will be interesting to see if Intel sells both processors at a discount and in a bundle, or if both will be sold separately. Our source told us that the consumers this system is targeting are not price conscious, so this may very well be one of the most expensive desktop systems Intel has produced in recent years.
Looking at the pictures more closely, we see "HT" plus one other character written on the lower CPU's heat-spreader, but that is not a reference to Hyper-Threading we're told. To the right "A1" is also written on the IHS, alluding to the possibility that these particular processors are based on A1 revision silicon. If these processors are based on A1 silicon, we know this particuar revision of Penryn has been up and running in Intel's lans since early January.
An eight core system will be most interesting to users that are heavy into video editing and 3D rendering, as both types of applications scale very well with more cores. Since games barely have support for two cores currently, we likely wouldn’t see any gains with an eight core system on the gaming front for a while.