With today's launch of their new "Lynnfield" based Core i5 and i7 800 series processors, and the accompanying P55 Express chipset, Intel's current flagship CPU microarchitecture--codenamed Nehalem--finally trickles its way down into the mainstream computing segment. Since Nehalem first landed on the desktop in the form of the Core i7 line of processors, it has unequivocally owned the performance segment of the market. They are simply the fastest desktop processors currently available, bar none. But while the Core i7 was riding high, Intel still had the established Core 2 line-up to satisfy the mainstream, though meeting market demand for a refresh here as well was obviously the end game.
Along with the new Core i5 and Core i7 800 series processors and P55 Express chipset, also come a plethora of new features and changes. While the Core i5 and i7 800 series processors are based on Nehalem and share similar execution cores, with these new processors, Intel has changed the integrated memory controller configuration, brought PCI Express connectivity on-die, and revamped their Turbo Mode functionality to offer varying levels of increased performance depending on the type of application being used. These new processors also require a new socket, new coolers, and the P55 Express chipset--which is an elegant single-chip solution.
There's a lot of information to cover to fill you all in on the pertinent details regarding the Core i5 and i7 800 series processors and P55 Express chipset. So we'll dive right in. First up we have some specifications on tap, and then we'll follow up with architectural and platform details, and a full performance breakdown using a trio of P55-based motherboards. Lots to see; let's get to it...
Intel Core i5 and i7 Processors and P55 Express Chipset