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Intel's CTO Pat Gelsinger proudly displays wafers of Nehalem processors with B1 stepping.  (Source: CannardPlus.com)

Intel is continuing to follow its "tick tock" strategy, with die shrinks coming in 2009 and 2011. New architectures, according to Intel, will be coming in 2008 with Nehalem, in 2010 with Sandy Bridge, and in 2012 with Haswell.  (Source: CannardPlus.com)

Real time raytracing may finally be introduced with Intel's Larrabee. Intel demoed an impresive raytraced version of Quake IV recently.  (Source: CannardPlus.com)
Intel has lots of excitement in store in the next four years

One of the most anticipated releases for late 2008 is Intel's Nehalem processor --its new four core processor that features the return of Hyper Threading, allowing eight logical cores per processor.  Recently formally named Intel Core i7 by Intel, the new processor is also highly anticipated as it will feature QuickPath, Intel's answer to AMD's HyperTransport, and will feature an on-die memory controller for the first time.

The latest Intel slides from CanardPlus show that Intel's wafer production is going smoothly and B1 stepping chips are being produced.  Sources at Intel estimate that the chip will offer 15 to 20 percent performance gains at a common frequency over today's top of the line Penryn processors.  The processor will go head to head with AMD's upcoming 45 nm offering, codenamed Shanghai.

Looking forward, according to internal slides, Intel plans to release a 32 nm shrink of Nehalem, codenamed Westmere at the end of 2009.  This increment follows Intel's "tick tock" approach of yearly updates, with the "tick" being the die shrink such as Westmere, while the "tock" represents a new architecture.

The next new architecture after Nehalem is codenamed Sandy Bridge (formerly known as Gesher) and will be built on a 32 nm process.  While details are scarce, Intel is hard at work on its development and details have begun to trickle out. 

Sandy Bridge will feature many key improvements.  It will support wider vectors, which Intel says allows for more power efficient floating point operations.  It also will feature "advanced data rearrangement", involving the use of 256 bit primitives.  Intel says this will improve cache coordination and help to speed the flow of data.  Furthering Sandy Bridge's monolithic nature, the new architecture will support three and four operand instructions and non destructive syntax to minimize register copies and allow for extensibility.

The architecture also features "flexible unaligned memory access support", which Intel indicates will allow computations to be immediately performed on data loaded from memory.  Also Intel will offer up an extensible new opcode (VEX), which it says will reduce code size.  The net results of the improvements Intel says will be an increase in performance of as much as 90 percent in certain mathematically intensive operations such as matrix multiplies.

With the Sandy Bridge processors expected to land in 2010, 2011 will bring a shrink codenamed Ivy Bridge, which will be made at the 22 nm node.  Finally in 2012, the next new architecture Haswell will arrive.

While Haswell is still in the very formative stages, Intel has big plans for it as well.  Early reports indicate that it will have eight physical cores by default and "revolutionary" power saving features.  Another key feature of this new architecture will be the FMA (Fused Multiply-Add), which will allow terms to be multiplied and added simultaneously.

Intel was rather tight-lipped about architectural details on its upcoming GPU, Larrabee, after so much initial noise.  However, Intel did reveal that its ray-tracing engine may finally see light with the release of Larrabee.  Ray-tracing is a different rendering method that has traditionally been more computationally intensive.  While producing the beautiful CGI in movies, it has eluded the capabilities of modern gaming hardware. 

In a sign of things to come, a ray-traced version of Quake 4, which looked stunning and ran at a silky 90 FPS in 1280x960, was demoed on a dual socket board featuring Intel's top of the line quad cores.

Also detailed in brief was the possible Atom-successor -- the upcoming Tolapai processor (formerly codenamed Pineview).  Tolapai is a SOC (System On a Chip) in that it will feature an integrated DDR2 memory controller, an integrated graphics core, and a full chipset, which features PCI, Ethernet, serial, and peripheral connections. 

The chip's processor will be an x86 design based on the Pentium M and will feature 148 million transistors.  It will come in a 37.5mm x 37.5mm package.  It will launch with 600 MHz, 1066 MHz or 1200 MHz clocked models.  The new integrated system is expected to be used in Netbooks as well as other diverse applications and will compete with ARM Holdings' SOC offerings.

With several new products launching this year and next, Intel is certainly looking to continue its commercial successes.



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Wait a minute
By nismotigerwvu on 8/18/2008 11:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
"In a sign of things to come, Intel's top of the line quad core system demoed a ray-traced version of Quake 4, which looked stunning at ran at a silky 90 FPS in 1280x960."

Unless they showed the demo more than once, wasn't the frame rate between 18 and 30 fps on a 4 socket system with 4 quad core chips?




RE: Wait a minute
By paydirt on 8/18/2008 12:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I read that elsewhere as well, that it was real-time raytraced at 30 fps.


RE: Wait a minute
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/18/2008 1:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
You're sort of right.

It was 90 fps at 1280x960, but it was on a dual socket quad core machine.

The original source was French, so it was kinda hard for me to understand what they were saying. I actually tried reading it in French, but my French ='s not so good. The article is now amended.

Anyways, the increase, if initial reports are accurate seems to show Intel has come a long ways in developing more efficient raytracing algorithms/methods.

Still beyond current tech, but getting a lot lot closer.


RE: Wait a minute
By freaqie on 8/18/2008 1:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
it might have actually been a 4 socket quadcore tigerton machine
i heard they were testing on.
btw for the first ever fully raytraced game...
let there be light.
www.photonstudios.nl

runs at about 30 fps...
turn off AA for good performance though.
it is run totally on the cpu. using the arauna realtime raytracing engine...


RE: Wait a minute
By the goat on 8/18/2008 2:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
btw for the first ever fully raytraced game... let there be light. www.photonstudios.nl


The first ever ray traced retail game was Wolfenstine 3D. True only the floors, ceilings, and walls were ray traced. Enemies and stuff in the rooms were 2D sprites. So I guess it was not a "fully" ray traced game.

The point is ray tracing game engines are new technology.


RE: Wait a minute
By the goat on 8/18/2008 2:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
^^^
That should say "not new technology."

-Duhhh brain fart


RE: Wait a minute
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 2:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
Close but not quite.

Wolf 3d used "ray casting," not ray tracing.


RE: Wait a minute
By the goat on 8/19/2008 8:49:11 AM , Rating: 3
Sorry MrBlastman you are wrong. Ray casting is a type of ray tracing. It is like how a Honda Accord is both a sedan and an automobile. A sedan is a type of automobile.

Ohh and thanks to everybody who rated me down. You rock!


RE: Wait a minute
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 1:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they should have.

The bought out (hired) the guy who came up with the Quake 3 raytracing algorithm.

What I find hilarious in all of this is ray tracing has been hyped forever (figuratively speaking) in the computer enthusiast world. I remember back in the 2400 bps BBS days where you could download stills of raytraced scenes and going - oooh! ahhh! at the pretty pictures.

Then, when Quake was originally hyped, it was supposedly going to be raytraced. It wasn't (in realtime) but it sure looked purty with those lightmapped and pre-processed shadow surfaces.

This has been a long time coming. I can't wait to see the final product - and the beastly hardware required to run a current gen game with it (Crysis/Bioshock etc.).


RE: Wait a minute
By Fnoob on 8/18/2008 1:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
(hired) the guy who came up with the Quake 3 raytracing algorithm.

Thanks for answering my question - I knew I wasn't senile yet. This has been a long time coming. And you're correct, the beastly requirements for a raytraced Crysis will be amuzingly infuriating.

In the interim, at least someone could come along and offer a raytraced "replay mode" with current games. Similar to say, the XB360 PGR3 style where the replay is at much higher resolution. Perhaps this is already being done?


RE: Wait a minute
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 2:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
From the horse's mouth:

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=506

I can't wait to see Ray Tracing in games... one day. The results are astonishing.


Tick or tock?
By 306maxi on 8/18/2008 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
That's the question. Personally I'm a tock person and got my E8400 a few days before they were meant to be available. It just seems that the price/performance rate of the die shrink version of a new architecture is so much better. I could have got an E6600 but I waited a year and a bit and got an E8400 which is faster, more efficient and cheaper. In addition to all the above from the CPU you also get more mature chipsets as well.

I wouldn't be surprised if most people are tick people though.




RE: Tick or tock?
By UNHchabo on 8/18/2008 1:08:53 PM , Rating: 3
I think you mean the other way around. Conroe was a "Tock", and Penryn was a "Tick".


RE: Tick or tock?
By 306maxi on 8/18/2008 1:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
You're completely right. Got mixed up andthought the tick was a new architecture rather than it being the die shrink which is the tick. So I'm a tick person.


RE: Tick or tock?
By feraltoad on 8/18/2008 7:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
I swing both ways, just depends what is on the table for how much.


RE: Tick or tock?
By DASQ on 8/19/2008 1:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
If you have to ask, you can't afford it.


RE: Tick or tock?
By feraltoad on 8/21/2008 5:30:14 AM , Rating: 2
If you don't ask, then how do you know how much to pay? I guess hand them your DoucheBag Express Card? It's everywhere a douchebag wants to be.


RE: Tick or tock?
By Pavelyoung on 8/21/2008 5:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
You go both ways 0.o

LOL no it should be fairly reasonable. Few hundred for the mb and a few hundred for the CPU


RE: Tick or tock?
By silversound on 8/18/2008 2:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
i7 does not seems like a great improvement from core 2, I will wait and see the performance from AMD and sandy bridge to decide


RE: Tick or tock?
By RubberJohnny on 8/19/2008 12:02:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sources at Intel estimate that the chip will offer 15 to 20 percent performance gains at a common frequency over today's top of the line Penryn processors

Geez mate you're hard to impress!!!
Keep in mind that's the same performance increase we got from the X2s to core 2...as previous poster stated price/performance ratio is always the deciding factor for me.


AMD's Fusion
By HsiKai on 8/18/2008 12:37:49 PM , Rating: 1
Could this "early leak" be a result of AMD giving some more specific information regarding Fusion (http://hkepc.com/?id=1592&fs=c1hp ) and wanting to steal a bit of the news of the week? Especially with Fusion being more than a year away Intel can play the "up and coming" card to capture some of the excitement (and rightfully so).

But regarding the Nehalem+Larabee system, this is very exciting both for processing as well as the future of games. I found this article which exemplifies some of the detail that ray-tracing offers over current technologies: http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=334&type=expe...

Also, though the article doesn't say it clearly, the Q4RT run is done on Larabee, not just on the Nehalem processor (see: http://www.techpowerup.com/index.php?68545 ). Perhaps the paragraph with the "sign of things to come" line should be part of the paragraph above it.




RE: AMD's Fusion
By bigboxes on 8/18/2008 3:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
Right. "Leaked" when AMD has been getting all the good press as of late.


RE: AMD's Fusion
By CestNul on 8/18/2008 5:31:43 PM , Rating: 5
"Leaked" ?
"Leaked" ????
Funny to see how this article from canardplus.com is going round the web those past few days.
Especially when the article is from APRIL this year (IDF Shanghai 2008). Dated 08/04/08 which means 8 April 2008 in France.
No web site checked anything whatsoever for accuracy, but quoting each other to death, mistakes included, seems to be the norm. Must be too difficult to look at the first page of the article.
[rant off]

Anyway, the writer of the original article has good credentials, coming from x86-secrets.com.


Not available
By crystal clear on 8/19/2008 4:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
Intel’s big week: Where’s the CEO?

It’s Intel’s biggest event of the year. So where’s the CEO?

That was my first question when I took a close look at the agenda for this week’s Intel (INTC) Developer Forum in San Francisco, where the world’s largest chipmaker rallies the technology industry behind its products and previews its roadmap. Paul Otellini was nowhere to be found. Was he off closing a big business deal? Is there trouble with Intel’s board of directors?

Neither, an Intel spokesperson tells me. Otellini is merely on sabbatical, a perk employees earn for every seven years of service. (He took four of his eight weeks of sabbatical leave last year, and is taking the other four now.) Intel Chairman Craig Barrett will give Tuesday’s IDF opening keynote instead.

I also found it odd that Sean Maloney, an Intel executive vice president who’s widely seen as a potential Otellini successor, won’t be at IDF either. I’m told he’s in China at the Olympics. In the absence of these two, senior vice president Pat Gelsinger will handle many of the nuts-and-bolts questions about operations.

Two conspicuous absences, two solid explanations. But if the company makes big purchases or executive moves anytime soon, Intel watchers may reflect on this IDF agenda differently.


http://bigtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/08/18/in...




RE: Not available
By crystal clear on 8/19/2008 4:38:46 AM , Rating: 2
Now something to push Intel faster & harder-

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY - 18 Aug 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and its joint development partners -- AMD, Freescale, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) -- today announced the first working static random access memory (SRAM) for the 22 nanometer (nm) technology node, the world's first reported working cell built at its 300mm research facility in Albany, NY.

SRAM chips are precursors to more complex devices such as microprocessors.



http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/249...

Can AMD beat Intel for the 22nm race ?


RE: Not available
By goz314 on 8/19/2008 3:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can AMD beat Intel for the 22nm race ?


You mean to say, "Can IBM beat Intel in the race to 22nm?" AMD isn't going to build squat at 22nm as soon as they implement their asset light strategy and sell off their manufacturing arm. They will need to outsource manufacturing capability for future products.

Going to the next process step nodes beyond 45nm is not just going to be expensive for semiconductor manufacturers, it's going to be prohibitively expensive. So much so that only a few key companies with sufficient capital will be able to play in that space and still be called manufacturers. At 22nm IBM and TSMC will still be operating as foundries and Intel will be one of the few remaining true semiconductor manufacturers. Meanwhile, AMD will likely be relegated to design house status if they want to continue competing.


RE: Not available
By crystal clear on 8/20/2008 6:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody really knows the exact details of the asset lite stratergy .

However much it is talked about by everybody including AMD - nothing concrete

The very purpose of IBM and its joint development partners -- AMD, Freescale, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is to spread development costs between partners & ultimately use memeber fabs for production to recover their investment in retooling these fabs for 22nm .
IBM + TSMC + Toshiba have enough of fabs amongst themselves to take up the production.

As for AMD - First of all can they deliver 45nm on time ?

I doubt....

I agree to your line of thinking...it all points in that direction.But who knows how things take shape.


Is it really a new architecture?
By tallcool1 on 8/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Is it really a new architecture?
By smilingcrow on 8/18/2008 2:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
“Seems like the highlights are Hyper Threading (Intel's previous technology which they dropped), and a combination of pre-existing technology ideas.”

Call it what you like but if the performance is good who cares? Semantics is usually the reserve of fanboys of the opposing team.


RE: Is it really a new architecture?
By walk2k on 8/18/2008 2:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it is a whole new architecture. It uses existing some technologies, of course, along with some new ones. That doesn't mean it's not new.

No of course it's not an entirely new and unique way of building a CPU... duh. I mean, it has to be compatible with x86 after all.


By ltcommanderdata on 8/18/2008 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
The changed their cache structure when they went from a 2 level cache with the second level being shared to a 3 level cache with the last level being shared. That's not very glamourous but that alone is a pretty major change in the architecture since the performance profile is completely different and requires everything to be reoptimized since where you are getting your data from and how fast you are getting it is quite different now.


What happened to ray traced Q3 ?
By Fnoob on 8/18/2008 1:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone else remember the hype around the ray traced Quake 3 demos from years past? The screenshots were night and day, but the full version never came to pass. I don't recall who was running the show at the time, but it might well have been (gasp!) AMD! I seem to recall it involving a new super efficient engine that allowed for ray tracing.




RE: What happened to ray traced Q3 ?
By HsiKai on 8/18/2008 3:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
PCPerspective has an article on both Q3-RT and Q4-RT: http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=334

It's not exactly the AMD demonstration you're talking about, but interesting nonetheless. From the article: "The result was: while the geometry complexity of the Quake 3 Level was six times higher, the frame rate dropped only to about ¾ of its original value."

He went from 2 triangles per wall to 5,000 and only realized a 25% reduction in FPS. Pretty good. He also takes note of the shading differences between RT and current rendering technology.


By HsiKai on 8/18/2008 3:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
Slashdot still has the article you remember: http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/07/...

For reference, one AMD XP 1800+ CPU produces 2.118 GFLOPS (in synthetic benchmarks).


So what?
By MDme on 8/18/2008 6:37:40 PM , Rating: 3
Don't understand what's all the fuss about Q4-RT when we already have AMD demoing Realtime RT a few months ago on a current gen RV770 core: Cinema 2.0 anyone?




NEWS !!! : Intel Annouced Today...
By Oralen on 8/19/2008 4:56:19 AM , Rating: 3
"...That one day they will release a GPU able to run a recent game at more than 15 frames per second, decode Hi-Def video for real, and regularly support it with working drivers.

The entire world is in shock, and waiting."

I am already sick of hearing about how Larrabee will be great.

Intel says so (meh...), all the reviewers repeat it, and nobody will actually see or test it for another year...

"Intel did reveal that its ray-tracing engine may finally see light with the release of Larrabee."

Or they may not...




By ltcommanderdata on 8/18/2008 12:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/08/...

Ars Technica revealed that Apple has two patents relevent to CPU production including one that is supposed to bring significant power reductions to CPUs. I wonder if Haswell's " "revolutionary power saving features" are actually licensed from Apple? With the seemingly happy relationship between Apple and Intel, and with Apple adding additional CPU design engineers from PA Semi, it's conceivable that there could be some collaboration.




Pat Gelsinger is stoned
By Fnoob on 8/18/2008 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
Looks baked ... playing with a 'trip-toy'. Case closed.

No wizz-quiz for executives at Intel huh?




when
By walk2k on 8/18/2008 2:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Any more news of when we might see desktop i7s (nehalem)?

Last I heard was Oct?




Tolapai is not an Atom successor
By vbg on 8/18/2008 7:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
Try to get your fact straight.
Thanks!




The secret is out!
By MrBlastman on 8/18/2008 12:15:55 PM , Rating: 1
Intel plans to dominate the world of microprocessors!

/me runs and hides at the obvious agenda that is now made 100% more obvious

;)

The roadmap looks good to me. Whatever leads to faster processors for all of the populace is fine by me. Just keep AMD around for a while longer though - competition stimulates progress.

(Full disclosure - I recently switched from an 11 year trend of using 100% AMD processors to my new Intel Quad Core - yes, I am a traitor... this time around)




Meh
By Lazlo Panaflex on 8/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Meh
By rudolphna on 8/18/2008 12:01:18 PM , Rating: 3
Wow lol. Intel is looking very good. Of course anything can happen, but it looks like AMD may be in trouble. (even more so than before) This certainly shows that Intel is determined to stick to its "tick-tock" cycle. Nehalem should provide excellent performance, along with larrabee. Imagine, for the first time, an "all-intel" gaming system. wooo. Now, if intel can just shoehorn larabee into a northbridge so we have integrated graphics that are competetive, Ill be happy.


RE: Meh
By oTAL on 8/19/2008 11:20:53 AM , Rating: 2
/me shudders at 5fps with that thought....

j/k =)
I hope they deliver because a third player in the graphics market could be good... especially with the different approach their taking. I'm not very hopeful for a good product though...


RE: Meh
By DanoruX on 8/18/08, Rating: 0
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton














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