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Nehalem's new Turbo Mode is similar to the 386's turbo button, in that it provides more power to the CPU. On a whole, it saves power and delivers superior performance in single and dual core applications.  (Source: Techgage)

Intel's new on-die memory controller features three channels, and appears to be working superbly as it more than triples Penryn's bandwidth. The final picture should become clear with latency information arrives.  (Source: Techgage)
There's a lot of new stuff going under the hood of Intel's upcoming "Nehalem" processor

Intel's plans for the next four years were leaked a bit prematurely before its Intel Developers Forum (IDF) this month.  Now with the IDF in full swing, Intel is releasing many more interesting details on the upcoming processor that is on top of its list -- Nehalem.

Formally known as the Intel Core i7, Nehalem features eight logical cores, the return of HyperThreading, on die memory support, QuickPath, and more.  It will launch later in 2008.

One interesting revelation which Intel left off with was that it would probably release its notebook processors at almost the same time as its desktop variants, unlike with its Penryn processors.  It expects many of the power-saving technologies found in Nehalem to be very useful in preserving laptop battery life.

The first intriguing technical detail of Nehalem according to Techgage is the new "Turbo Mode".  Similar to the Turbo button of 386 days of yore, the turbo functionality will up the power to the CPU.  Overall performance will be reduced in Nehalem to save power.  For example, three cores of a four-core Nehalem processor could be turned off while a system is idle. More power can be transferred to that single core as well when performing simple operations that don’t require four cores blazing away.

However, if more CPU power is needed, power can be distributed to the remaining cores.  Turbo Mode can be turned off in the BIOS and does not replace traditional overclocking.

Also discussed was Intel's new on-chip memory controller.  It uses three channels in an unusual approach.  The approach is apparently paying off as memory bandwidth with its QuickPath Interface (QPI) is up to 25.6 GB/s, almost 3.5x the performance of current gen memory.  Unfortunately, Intel refused to divulge latency information, so the memory picture is still incomplete, though it’s looking bright on the bandwidth side of things.

As Nehalem samples have been show capable of working with even the highest end DDR3, DDR3-2000, many are now beginning to wonder whether such high speeds will even be necessary given the massive bandwidth.  Some are speculating that Nehalem's impressive memory performance will spell death for the high end memory market, already hurt by sinking prices.

It’s hard to say whether this will happen as increasingly there will be scenarios that call for massive memory use.  Intel is making big claims about its bandwidth, however.  According to Intel one stick of DDR3 on and Intel X58 motherboard with a Nehalem nearly equals the bandwidth of a dual-channel DDR3 configuration with a Penryn processor.  Nonetheless, memory manufacturers are planning to release 3 GB DDR3 kits to coincide with Nehalem for 32-bit OS's and 6 GB and 12 GB kits for 64-bit OS's.

While IDF attendees were sworn to secrecy on performance specifics, they did say that the overall performance shows good gains, similar to the Penryn.  They say that HyperThreading features few surprises and aside from some minor improvements is virtually identical to that used in the Pentium 4.

In conclusion, there are a few new juicy details on Nehalem, but in the end even more questions.  Fortunately answers will be coming in a few short months.  With AMD's Shanghai set to compete with Nehalem, perhaps the most interesting question of all is when will Nehalem's competitor materialize.

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By Adonlude on 8/20/2008 2:11:28 PM , Rating: 0
I like the idea of the turbo button. I hope that it is configurable so you can decide just how much power it adds and subtracts. My C2D and GFX card noticeably heat my room which gets very uncomfortable during the summer. I would love to have a button that would shut off the second core and drastically down clock my cpu and gfx card when I am just doing e-mail and other simple tasks.

RE: Turbo
By MrBlastman on 8/20/08, Rating: 0
RE: Turbo
By IsDanReally on 8/20/2008 2:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, the article does not claim a turbo button is coming, just a turbo mode, controlled automatically by the BIOS (and I imagine in some cases software from the motherboard manufacturer). Still, interesting we come back to such old ideas.

RE: Turbo
By barjebus on 8/20/2008 2:30:10 PM , Rating: 5
I should hope so. If there was seriously a BUTTON for increasing the power you may as well create some kind of boat throttle instead and lean back in your chair as you proceed to warp speed, pulling the throttle back, and encoding video's by the dozen.

RE: Turbo
By Ctsephion on 8/20/2008 2:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
If you arn't aware, back in the 3/486 era, there were cases that made it possible to jump up from 33Mhz to 66Mhz. But since there were programs incompatible with such a high processor speed, the ability to "switch back" was needed. Thus, the 'turbo' button was etched into the pages of history...

RE: Turbo
By MrBlastman on 8/20/2008 2:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
My 286 had a Turbo button...

It took it from a blazing 4 Mhz to 8 Mhz! We were really flying fast!

What is funny is, for some "really old games" at the time (remember, this was 1987), say games made in 1983/84, I needed to turn the turbo mode off in order for these older applications to be controllable.

Imagine... 8 Mhz being too fast...

RE: Turbo
By Fnoob on 8/20/2008 3:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
Had that one too - ah, those were the golden days.

The interesting thing to note in both the 286 and 386 cases - the Turbo button actually DOUBLED the speed. For some reason I doubt this new tech is going to take us from ~3Ghz to 6Ghz magically.

RE: Turbo
By AFMatt on 8/20/2008 4:22:48 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, the Turbo button's purpose was to reduce the speed. With the button on, you were running the actual specs for the processor.
When you took it off "Turbo" mode, the processor clock was downclocked to a certain level to allow for compatibility with software written with older processors in mind. It was generally a 40% or so difference.

RE: Turbo
By masher2 on 8/20/2008 6:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
> "My 286 had a Turbo button...It took it from a blazing 4 Mhz to 8 Mhz! We were really flying fast!"

I think you're misremembering slightly. My 286 went from 6-8-10 mhz depending on the turbo setting, but I don't believe any 286 scaled below 6mhz. Even the old 8086 itself debuted at 4.77mhz.

RE: Turbo
By littlebitstrouds on 8/20/08, Rating: -1
RE: Turbo
By littlebitstrouds on 8/22/2008 11:46:09 AM , Rating: 1
I get rated down by a masher fan boy even though he's proven wrong 1 line later... brilliant.

RE: Turbo
By 306maxi on 8/24/2008 6:37:55 AM , Rating: 1
You got rated down for acting like an @ss.......

RE: Turbo
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2008 10:38:50 AM , Rating: 2
Tandy 1000 TX:

Here is the manual:

Page A-15

I quote:

"Slow Speed. Changes the CPU speed to 4 megahertz. The normal CPU speed is 8 megahertz."

Anything else? ;) I loved my Tandy 1000 TX. The 16 color TGA graphics gave me PC Jr equivalent colors with a much faster processor, I had 640k ram (later upgraded to 768k) and 3 VOICE SOUND! The 3 voice sound alone gave me a huge edge against everyone else I knew at the time as it was melodious and beautiful to the ears. Gunship sounded incredible.

RE: Turbo
By initialised on 8/20/2008 9:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
Turbo = Inverted speed step, that is all.
Powersave by default, full power when needed only on cores as well as clocks this time round. Suggests to me that the Nehalem will be a powerwhore like previous HT enabled CPUs.

RE: Turbo
By Ctsephion on 8/20/2008 2:28:35 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if we will have manufacturers that treat this as the new way to capitalize on the "retro-cool" aspect that is the turbo button. I don't think it would be too far fetched to think that manufacturers like Thermaltake or Antec would do a specialized button on a Nehalem oriented computer case, considering they had a "turbo" button on MSI's 9600GT.

RE: Turbo
By Sulphademus on 8/20/2008 3:10:22 PM , Rating: 3
While I like the idea of a hardware switch to toggle performance modes, I hate the name. Turbo just sounds sooo... juvenile, like red flame decals make it go faster too. Perhaps something like "Performance Mode" (assuming low power is default) or "Power Saver" (if full throttle is default).

It would be very nice if this could downclock/upclock my graphics card as well.

RE: Turbo
By Schrag4 on 8/20/2008 4:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
The button on the front of the case will toggle between 'Performance Mode' and 'Tree-Hugging Mode'

Sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously, though, if the CPU has a Turbo Mode, the user should be able to turn it on, and leave it on, if he or she likes. I also think software should be smart enought to kick it on and off when needed, which would be fine most of the time. However, sometimes I get a little impatient with my machine and would like to know that it's not slowing down in the name of power efficiency.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but perhaps instead of a button on the case, there would be a timer that you would set. That way if you know you're going to bed in an hour, you can just set the timer for an hour, and know that it will be in turbo mode while you're still up, and not in turbo mode while you're asleep.

I got the idea from a house that my wife and I were considering buying. It had timers on the shower fans (up to 30 min). I can't tell you how much electricity that would save in our house if we had these, between running the fan (not much electricity) and running the air-conditioning to make up for all the cool air we just accidentally pumped outside for the last 2 hours!!!! I've been meaning to get these for our house but our local Home Depot doesn't have them, and I've simply forgotten all about it since I looked.

RE: Turbo
By MrBlastman on 8/20/2008 4:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
The new Nvidia cards (200x series) downclock automatically when not running 3d applications to save power.

RE: Turbo
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2008 10:28:21 AM , Rating: 2
I love getting downrated for a factual comment.

My EVGA Precision tool shows it being downclocked clear as day. What more is there to dispute?

RE: Turbo
By AlexWade on 8/20/2008 3:15:31 PM , Rating: 4
I had a turbo button computer. Later on, I found out that it did nothing but change the LED lights to read 66 instead of 33. So I modified the jumpers so that the TURBO would read 200.

The funny thing is I still play those old DOS games.

RE: Turbo
By Ringold on 8/20/2008 9:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
I just whipped out VGA Trek yesterday. Games might be 5000x the size, but sadly, not really all that much better in some cases.

I still think Stars! may well be my favorite game of all time, and think I had more fun in some old text-based adventure games than, say, DooM 3. In fact, when "my boat comes in," I swear I'll personally finance a modern Stars! clone, minimal emphasis on graphics, just mild improvements that technology allows over the original. Once it's done, I'd try to sell it for a year or two, then I'd make it open-source so it avoids the same fate of Stars!; incompatibility with future OS's.

RE: Turbo
By phorensic on 8/25/2008 5:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
The button on my 386 case did the same thing...and sure enough I did exactly the same thing as you. I think I made it say 999, though, hehe.

RE: Turbo
By walk2k on 8/20/2008 4:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
When will we start seeing these chips and the motherboards for them? Oct?

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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