Intel Core i7 Processors: Nehalem and X58 Have Arrived

Introduction and Related Information

There are only a select few events in the PC hardware world that get hardcore enthusiasts truly excited. For example, when popular trade shows like Computex, IDF, and CES take place, there is a fair amount of buzz.  Also, anytime the major players in graphics release next-generation GPUs, things definitely heat up; or likewise when a hot new game hits.  Finally, when either of the processor big guns, Intel or AMD unleash new CPU micro-architectures on the world, you can almost bet on the community to come alive with enthusiasm. We're sure we've missed a few other momentous occasions as well, but you get the gist. It takes something new and exciting to get a PC Enthusiast's pulse racing.

Thankfully, today is one of those times. Although Intel won't be officially launching their Core i7 processors, formerly codenamed Nehalem, and the X58 Express chipset until sometime later in the month, we've had them in house for a while now and can finally show you all the goods. We've tested every Core i7 speed grade that will be available at launch, along with at trio of X58 Express based motherboards. We've even thrown in some high-resolution multi-GPU SLI and CrossFireX testing for good measure as well.

There's a lot to cover, so we'll keep the introduction short and dive right in. Below are some Core i7 features and specifications to whet your appetite--the main course is available on the pages ahead.  Also, our video spotlight of all this new Intel technology can be found here.

Intel Core i7 Processor and Corsair Triple-Channel DDR3 RAM
On The DX58SO 'Smackover' Motherboard

Intel Core i7 Processors
Specifications & Features

  • Core Frequencies - 3.2GHz (965), 2.93GHz (940), 2.66 (920) 
  • QPI Speed - 6.4GT/s (965), 4.8GT/s (940, 920) 
  • TDP (Thermal Design Power) - 130W
  • Stepping - 4
  • Number of CPU Cores - 4
  • Shared L3 Cache - 8MB
  • L2 Cache - 1MB (256K x 4)
  • Processor input voltage (VID) - 1.160v
  • .045-micron manufacturing process
  • Shared Smart Cache Technology
  • PECI Enabled
  • Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST)
  • Extended HALT State (C1E) Enabled
  • Execute Disable Bit (XD) Enabled
  • Intel 64 Technology
  • Intel Virtualization Technology (VT)
  • Packaging -  Flip Chip LGA1366
  • Total Die Size: Approximately 263mm2 
  • Approximately 731M Transistors
  • MSRP - $999 (965), $562 (940), $284 (920)

45nm Nehalem Quad-Core Die

Intel hasn't exactly kept many details regarding Nehalem and the X58 Express chipset a well guarded secret this past year or so. In fact, we've already posted a number of articles related to both, dating back to March of last year, in which we write about many of the main features and specifications of Nehalem, its naming convention and the supporting X58 Express chipset. Here is a breakdown of a few of the most pertinent stories...

We're going to summarize many of the main details again here, but if you'd like to check out our complete coverage of the Core i7 (Nehalem) and the X58 Express chipset, the list of articles above covers just about all there is to know.

Related content