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An document consistent with Intel roadmaps details the company's upcoming 6-core processor

The same slide deck details side-by-side projections of Nehalem with other AMD and Intel processors

George Out estimates the floating point point and integer performance by extrapolating datapoints on the slid  (Source: ZDNet)
Sun confirms what Intel has been dying to tell us, at least off the record

Late last month in Austria, Intel presented Sun with roadmaps discussing details of its upcoming server platforms, including the fairly secret Xeon Dunnington and Nehalem architectures. Unfortunately for some, this presentation ended up on Sun's public web server over the weekend.

Dunnington, Intel's 45nm six-core Xeon processor from the Penryn family, will succeed the Xeon Tigerton processor.  Whereas Tigerton is essentially two 65nm Core 2 Duo processors fused on one package, Dunnington will be Intel's first Core 2 Duo processor with three dual-core banks. 

Dunnington includes 16MB of L3 cache shared by all six processors. Each pair of cores can also access 3MB of local L2 cache.  The end result is a design very similar to the AMD Barcelona quad-core processor; however, each Barcelona core contains 512KB L2 cache, whereas Dunnington cores share L2 cache in pairs.

To sweeten the deal, all Dunnington processors will be pin-compatible with Intel Tigerton processors, and work with the existing Clarksboro chipset.  Intel's slide claims this processor will launch in the second half of 2008 -- a figure consistent with previous roadmaps from the company.

The leaked slide deck also includes more information about Intel's Penryn successor, codenamed NehalemNehalem is everything Penryn is -- 45nm, SSE4, quad-core -- and then some.  For starters, Intel will abandon the front-side bus model in favor of QuickPath Interconnect; a serial bus similar to HyperTransport.

Perhaps the most ambitious aspect of Nehalem? For the first time in 18 years Intel will pair its processors cores up with on-die memory controllers.  AMD made the switch to on-die memory controllers in 2003. For the next three years its processors were almost unmatched by Intel's offerings.  The on-die memory controller can't come a moment too soon. Intel will also roll out tri-channel DDR3 with the Nehalem, and all that extra bandwidth can only be put to use if there are no bottlenecks.

As noted by ZDNet blogger George Ou, the slides contain some rudimentry benchmarks for Nehalem and other publicly available processors.  From this slide deck, Ou estimates Nehalem's SPEC*fp_rate_base2006 at 163 and the SPEC*int_rate_base2006 at 176.  By contrast, Intel's fastest Harpertown Xeon X5482 pulls a measly 80 and 122 SPEC fp and int rate_base2006.

The Nehalem processor more than doubles the floating point performance of its current Penryn-family processors.  Ou adds, "We’ll most likely know by the end of this year what the actual scores are, but I doubt they will be more than 5% to 10% off from these estimated projections."

It's important to note that these estimates are not actual benchmarks.  Intel's document states, "Projections based on *SPECcpu2006 using dual socket Intel Xeon 5160 Processor performance as the baseline." As discussed on DailyTech before, simulated benchmarks offer little substance in favor of the real deal.

As of February 2008, the company plans to launch Nehalem in Q4 2008.

Sun has since removed the slide deck from its website.


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RE: AMD
By dickeywang on 2/25/2008 5:26:47 AM , Rating: 1
AMD will survive. Intel doesn't want AMD to be completely eliminated, otherwise Intel itself will have to face a lot more anti-trust investigations.


RE: AMD
By SunLord on 2/25/2008 6:05:55 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty much. It's easier for Intel to invest money into keeping AMD afloat via direct investment or through some shady third party fund. Kinda like MS investment in Apple.

It's a lot less trouble in the longer term to keep a token competitor alive then to deal with anti-trust problems that will pop up once the only competition goes away. Since to my knowledge there are only 2.5 x86 cpu manufacturers Intel, AMD, and VIA.


RE: AMD
By Samus on 2/25/2008 7:59:50 AM , Rating: 2
AMD will just go back to being old-AMD. That is, the low-end market segment with crappy profit margins.

Their server-class CPU market is what they rely on for profit, and they hasn't been successful since they ditched Socket 939/940.

I still have a few Opteron 140 and 165 (socket 939) server's running strong in my client-base. They're as powerful and stable as anything Intel could come up with at the time, and far less expensive.

But honestly, if you were building a server now, would you choose an Opteron or a Core2-Quad based Xeon? Yea, I thought so.


RE: AMD
By murphyslabrat on 2/25/2008 12:33:40 PM , Rating: 3
I would actually pick an Opteron-based server. First reason is cost, second is power, third is scaling across client-loads.

AMD still owns the market for most server applications, and you aren't losing anything in terms of future-proof-ness; as Intel will soon be switching sockets anyway.


RE: AMD
By AlphaVirus on 2/26/2008 12:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But honestly, if you were building a server now, would you choose an Opteron or a Core2-Quad based Xeon? Yea, I thought so.

If you thought Opteron then yeah you thought right.

As the person above me said.
quote:
I would actually pick an Opteron-based server. First reason is cost, second is power, third is scaling across client-loads.

Power I think would outweight costs for most companies as that is a longterm investment.

Intel will not win the server market for a long time as AMD has the proper offerings to hold on strong.


RE: AMD
By Wirmish on 2/26/2008 9:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
Rapid answer: FB-DIMMs sucks.


RE: AMD
By Trisagion on 2/25/2008 6:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
There's no need for any monopolistic / unfair competitive behavior if there isn't any competition, is there?


RE: AMD
By SanLC504 on 2/25/2008 8:10:36 AM , Rating: 2
Monopolistic also means inhibiting the growth of new companies as competition. If Intel lost AMD, and VIA were the only direct competitor, that could be judged a monopoly since VIA holds less than 1% of the processor market.


RE: AMD
By paydirt on 2/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: AMD
By paydirt on 2/27/2008 8:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
fine bump me down, but you'll see in 5 years...


RE: AMD
By 1078feba on 2/27/2008 11:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
An interesting point of view. I'd really like to see some supporting documentation/links. If true, it may be time to really increase my holdings in Nvidia.

I have always wondered what sort of systems Crytek used to manufacture Crysis. If the highest-end rigs current can't run it with the types of FPS numbers that one can get running, say, CoD4 with it's proprietary engine, how did Crytek know that Crysis would look "fantastic". Don't get me wrong, it does, but if the devs had to run it with all the setting turned down during various builds, how did they know? What did they use, a Cray?


RE: AMD
By jordanclock on 2/25/2008 3:11:02 PM , Rating: 4
Monopolies aren't illegal. What is illegal is using a monopolistic advantage to ensure that no others can compete in that market. If Intel gains a monopoly by having the best processor, no one can bring forth a lawsuit for that. If Intel gains a monopoly by paying off retailers and OEMs to not sell competitors, then they'll be investigated for antitrust violations and subsequently penalized.

You have to remember, the government endorses monopolies. It's the point of patents, after all. What isn't endorsed is using that position to make sure you're the only one to ever have that position.


"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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