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Intel details plans for mainstream and budget processor, plus we learn about Intel's plans for SSDs

Intel just recently released its new Nehalem-based Core i7 processors which are just about the fastest processors available on the consumer market. While the new Core i7 processors sit at the top of the food chain, Intel hasn't forgotten about its value and mainstream desktop processor lineups.

Intel Core 2 Quad
L2 Cache
FSB January 18
Q9550s 2.83 GHz 12MB 1333 MHz
Q9400s 2.66 GHz 6MB 1333 MHz
Q8200s 2.33 GHz 4MB 1333 MHz

Beginning on January 18, Intel will launch three new Core 2 Quad processors with a TDP of just 65W. This is compared to a 95W TDP for most other Core 2 Quad processors. At the time of launch, the price premium for the Q8200s, Q9400s, and Q9550s will be $62, $54, and $53 respectively compared to the non "s" models.

Intel Pentium Dual Core
L2 Cache
FSB January 18
E5400 2.70 GHz 2MB 800 MHz
E5300 2.60 GHz 2MB 800 MHz
E5200  2.50GHz  2MB  800 MHz $64

Intel Core 2 Duo
L2 Cache
FSB January 18
E7500 2.93 GHz 3MB 1066 MHz

Intel is also launching a new Pentium Dual Core processor in November and one more on January 18. The 2.6 GHz Pentium Dual Core E5300 will show up on November 30 priced at $86. The E5300 will be joined by a 2.7 GHz Pentium Dual Core E5400 on January 18 priced at $84. At that time, the E5300 will see a price cut to $74 while the older 2.5 GHz E5200 will fall to $64.

Slightly higher up on the food chain will be a new 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo E7500 priced at $133.

Intel Core 2 Duo, Quad
L2 Cache
FSB January 18
T9800 2.70 GHz 6MB 1066 MHz
Q9000 2.00 GHz 6MB 1066 MHz
 P9600  2.66 GHz  6MB  1066 MHz $348
 T9550  2.66 GHz  6MB  1066 MHz $316
P9600  2.53 GHz  3MB  1066 MHz $241

Intel's power efficient 35W processor lineup will also see some changes in at the end of the year. No less than five new processors will be introduced ranging in price from $241 to $530. In addition, the slower 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo P8600 will fall from $241 to $209 on January 18.

Intel also hasn't forgotten about its other businesses when it comes to price cuts. Intel's multi-level cell (MLC) X25-E solid state drives (SSDs) have been burning up the benchmark charts thanks to its highly optimized memory controller. The street price for the 2.5" 80GB X25-M -- and its 80GB 1.8" X18-M counterpart -- will drop from $600 to $525 on November 30. 160GB variants of the X25-M/X18-M will show up in the first half of 2009 and will initially be priced at $990.

Moving over to the single-level cell (SLC) parts, Intel will introduce its high performance 32GB X25-E for $700 on November 30. For those that are patient, the price will drop to $575 on December 28. A 64GB part will be introduced in the first half of 2009 for $990.

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What about the new i7's
By Magmaros on 11/17/2008 9:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
whens word on the mainstream i7's gonna come out?

RE: What about the new i7's
RE: What about the new i7's
By teldar on 11/17/2008 9:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know that you can really call $300 mainstream. That's still a pretty good chunk of what people are going to be interested in paying for an entire computer these days.
Not that's it's exactly high end, not in comparison with $1000 processors.
It's great that there's going to be a little more competetion again.

RE: What about the new i7's
By Mitch101 on 11/17/2008 10:33:10 AM , Rating: 5
Not to mention the premium on the mobo's and the required high priced DDR3. Id love one but I love my cash even more.

Too often people/review sites do price comparisons to just the CPU and not take into consideration the surrounding hardware required for that CPU. The actual cost of entry includes a mobo and ram.

DDR2 vs DDR3 performance wise there isn't anything to speak about yet but price wise is night and day. Like I said Id love one but I love my cash even more.

RE: What about the new i7's
By VaultDweller on 11/17/2008 10:04:26 AM , Rating: 3
Key word: mainstream.

The Core i7 mainstream lineup is still many months away. The 920 could conceivably be classed as a mainstream CPU, but since the only chipset available is X58 and DDR3 still has a hefty price premium, make no mistake - there's no way the i7 platform can fit into the mainstream yet.

RE: What about the new i7's
By TomZ on 11/17/2008 10:58:49 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree - Dell has a well-outfitted Core i7 system for $999:

That includes 4GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD3450, and a 20" LCD. All for about $1K. Could be mainstream if you ask me - I guess it depends on how many they sell. :o)

RE: What about the new i7's
By Aloonatic on 11/17/2008 11:13:35 AM , Rating: 3
Seems you get much better deals in the states.

We're still having Q6600 systems pushed on us by Dell, the high end being Q9400s :-O

Back to the main point, I guess it all comes do what you mean by mainstream.

That seems like a good deal, when the screen is included.

But is $1000 a little pricey these days? In the era of the Eee PC and the "credit crunch"?

Also, do new i7 machines all have far more power than "the mainstream" currently require anyway?

RE: What about the new i7's
By TomZ on 11/17/2008 11:19:16 AM , Rating: 3
Also, do new i7 machines all have far more power than "the mainstream" currently require anyway?

I don't think so. When I have to wait hours to transcode hi-def video from one format to another, I feel like we need faster processors.

And transcoding video is not exactly a niche thing anymore. For example, if you shoot home video or record a TV show on a PC and then you want to record that onto a're in for quite a long wait with today's processors.

RE: What about the new i7's
By Aloonatic on 11/17/2008 11:27:17 AM , Rating: 2
Video transcoding was about the only thing that I could think of that might need a bit more power.

But out of all the people I know, I am the only person who does anything like that, and then it is something that I am quite happy to leave going whilst I go out and about or do other things, no big rush.

And I am not sure that you can say that the activities of a DT reader are really "mainstream" to be honest.

I take your point though.

But in the unlikely even that video transcoding becomes the next big thing that my parents want to do, perhaps I'd be better of buying them a news graphics card rather than an i7 system?

The time saving gains will be much greater and the time saved will leave him plenty of time to carry on his hobby of writing angry letters to the Daily Mail or BBC.

RE: What about the new i7's
By MrDiSante on 11/17/2008 6:40:31 PM , Rating: 3
I feel that you should be using your GPU to transcode you video.
My launch e6600 (yeah, I know, it's ancient by this point, but I love it nonetheless) does SD transcoding from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 in slightly better than 2x real-time. Now compare to that my HD4850: it does it in about 10x real-time.

You can get a Q6600 for about the price of the HD4850, and for the sake of argument let's say that it scales linearly with cores. That means you have a bunch of processing power that you paid for and don't need (Flight Simulator X does not count) except for when you're recoding, versus not blowing a bunch of money on your processor and getting a decent video card instead (or using the one you already have).

Go with GPU-based video encoding.

RE: What about the new i7's
By VaultDweller on 11/17/2008 1:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
4GB for Nehalem? Silly Dell, dual channel is for kids, I mean, for Core 2.

That said, that Dell system has its place, but it's definitely not under a gamer's desk. Splurging on a CPU that offers little/no performance benefit in games, and compensating for that cost by using a dated, low-end video card? A cheaper system could be designed that would demolish it in gaming performance. Give me framerates, or give me death!

Seriously though, I guess it's cool that the OEMs are able to sell systems that are at least priced in the Domain of Sanity - presumably because they can use their own motherboards that aren't Kings of the Realm of Insanity.

The DIY crowd has no such luck. Building your own system at this point gives you a terrible selection of motherboards apparently produced from solid gold. You simply cannot get a DIY build with mainstream performance at mainstream price points using Core i7 (yet).

RE: What about the new i7's
By FITCamaro on 11/17/2008 3:52:21 PM , Rating: 1
We have very different ideas of the word "mainstream".

RE: What about the new i7's
By GaryJohnson on 11/17/2008 10:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
Really hoping the i7s drive down the prices on the core2 extremes. It'd be nice to get a QX977x for sub $600.

RE: What about the new i7's
By Aloonatic on 11/17/2008 10:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
If they do drive down the prices of the current generation of processors, is it really worth buying into the i7?

What do you really gain from them?

Gaming is pretty well GPU dependant.

Everyday tasks are easily handled by current hardware (I know that you can always argue this when a new generation of CPUs is replaced, but it seems especially true now)

Video encoding you say?

With ATI and Nvidia getting their GPUs working on tasks like these, probably compression and other photoshop tasks too, they will offer massive performance increases regardless of the CPU, much larger than the increases offered by i7, even the extreme end of the scale.

So in short, are you not better off not buying into i7 and an expensive X58 board with non too cheap DDR3 RAM but instead investing that money into a much better GPU (or 2 or maybe even 3) than you might otherwise have thought about buying?

Especially if prices are cut for the current gen of processors and DDR2 RAM becomes even cheaper and high end 775 motherboards are about the same price as a basic (although very capable) X58 boards?

RE: What about the new i7's
By TomZ on 11/17/2008 11:30:28 AM , Rating: 4
The idea of using GPUs for encoding/transcoding video has been around for years, but the fact of the matter is that it is not widely used today. Most encoding is still done using CPUs.

So for many people, waiting for GPU encoding to become mainstream is a poor bet compared to upgrading to i7 which can be done today and give some immediate benefits.

RE: What about the new i7's
By Aloonatic on 11/17/2008 11:38:26 AM , Rating: 2
There hasn't been much about it on DT, but a fair few other sites have been reporting ATIs stream processing and that they will be including video encoding tools in their future catalyst releases.

As you say, it's all been done before but it seems to becoming more "main stream"

Here's the article that got me thinking about this.

RE: What about the new i7's
By TomZ on 11/17/2008 12:07:44 PM , Rating: 3
The potential gains are very impressive. But the question is whether and when it will get integrated into the kinds of apps that people commonly use for video, e.g., manufacturer camcorder utilities, Windows Media Center, etc.

Like you said, maybe many DT users are more sophisticated and will use stand-alone utilities, but more "mainstream" users will just want to click to "burn to DVD" button in whatever program they normally use.

A final note - it's really a shame that there is no standard API that both AMD/ATI and nVIDIA will be following for this. This means that application writers will have to put in and maintain separate implementations for CPU, GPU-ATI, and GPU-NV.

RE: What about the new i7's
By MadMan007 on 11/17/2008 1:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
You should really try reading the article he linked or doing a few Google searches for 'ATi Stream AVIVO' or the like. Because a lot of your objections are already covered or in the plans to be. Between ATi and NV themselves, a few releases by Cyberlink and ArcSoft, and open standards like OpenCL most of those issues are taken care of.

The problem isn't software, it's hardware. Every computer has a CPU, but Intel integrated graphics still hold sway in the broad computer market.

RE: What about the new i7's
By Spectator on 11/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: What about the new i7's
By VaultDweller on 11/17/2008 1:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, GPU-assisted encoding has been slow to see the light of day, but that's true of almost everything GPU-assisted. Vista uses DirectX for it's UI. Adobe's Creative Suite 4 will be able to utilize GPU acceleration, thus prompting Apple to include nVidia video across its MacBook line.

Surely video encoders must follow the trend eventually?

Alas, there's still no plans to include CUDA support for the x264 encoder, though :(

RE: What about the new i7's
By VaultDweller on 11/17/2008 1:33:29 PM , Rating: 2
I should also say that I suspect DirectX 11 will be what finally pushes GPU-assisted activities into the mainstream. A hardware neutral language from Microsoft for GPGPUs to replace CUDA and ATI's tech should help get things rolling, much like HLSL replaced nVidia Cg to make graphics shaders all the rage.

You are right, though. Nehalem is faster for encoding right now, not at some future time to be decided.

RE: What about the new i7's
By epyon96 on 11/17/2008 12:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone else besides me find that the model numbers and letters like T and E with 4 digits attached to it completely meaningless and a waste of time now. I consider myself generally an tech informed individual. However, with all these model numbers and revamps every few months during relauchs, they have lost all meaning.

At least the original AMD model numbers offered some reference point to the Intel Pentium series. Now it's just spewing out four random digits to me and expecting me to understand them at retail.

I need to dig deeper into finding out cache size and core clock sometimes at retail. I'm glad tech sites generally list out the specs. However, every once in a while they forget and I need to wikipedia it on the side to know what processor they are talking about.

End of my rant...

Intel is doing a great job of saving me money
By Staples on 11/17/2008 4:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
Seems that quad cores will never be less than $200. $200 is the magical price for a CPU that I will not go over. Seems that when a quad core hits near $200, they discontinue before it hits that price point. Currently I have a Conroe at 3GHz. Guess I will have to live with that for a while longer.

And what happened with the reviews of the i7? Everyone seemed to have either really lame reviews (with little to no benchmarks) or no reviews at all. I hardly believe this was a paper launch.

By NubWobble on 11/17/2008 9:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
Guru3D test of i7, showing it's true power in multi-card environments. For the normal gamer the Core i7 is nothing special (that includes me) but for those who have tri or quad sli/xfire the core i7 will unleash the power of their beasts.

RE: Intel is doing a great job of saving me money
By MadMan007 on 11/17/2008 10:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
The q6600 and q8200 disagree.

RE: Intel is doing a great job of saving me money
By NubWobble on 11/17/2008 11:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
To be honest I couldn't care less what the core i7 does. I am more than happy with my Q6600 and will use it for quite some time to come. This is just another way for Intel to force us to buy new chips. I'm not saying it's not interesting but there is no difference between Core 2 and i7 when it comes to gaming, the only thing that matters is cpu speed.

By TomZ on 11/18/2008 9:04:18 AM , Rating: 2
...there is no difference between Core 2 and i7 when it comes to gaming, the only thing that matters is cpu speed.

Contradict yourself much? :o)

SSD Pricing.
By Spectator on 11/17/2008 2:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think those prices will stand in jan for intel SSD.

The ppl with common sence are already buying $120 raid card with Ram onboard. And several of the "Broken" SSD drives in raid zero. then look for the weak 4k write problem.

Go dare your Local Anand to test 2/3 mlc raid zero "random SSD insert name" OCZ v2 drives and a controller.

under the above logic, for same price as 1 SLC intel drive.

Im all about the logical result AFTER you have considered the possibilities. Chukkle

RE: SSD Pricing.
By kensiko on 11/17/2008 6:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
I do think Intel MLC SSD is tooo expensive, a SLC SSD drive is almost the same price and get a lot more stable write performance !!

I really think they won't get a lot of customers. I already saw people on the forums complaining about Intel SSD freezing.

RE: SSD Pricing.
By Spectator on 11/18/2008 2:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
Im not fully sold on the idea of 1 ssd drive being better than 2/3 ssd drives from a reliability standpoint.

We all know how xx mechanical 1.5+ terabyte drives in raid 6. are inherantly going to have errors.

But the logic of SSD is totally governed by how many times you can write to a cell?

Urgo. if you share the load over more drives you get more reliability/storage/speed in Raid zero.

That is the whole point of buying a raid card with ram. and 2/3 non intel ssd's. for the same cash as 1 intel ssd.

Cache Pricing?
By Spectator on 11/17/2008 10:09:11 AM , Rating: 1
For the normal/clocking consumer the default cpu speed is somewhat irrelevant?. But the cache can be a factor.

I dont fully understand the logic of in the I7 deployment they standardize the cache across the current desktop range.

but in the C2 quad's released jan 18th 2.33Ghz-2.83Ghz you pay extra.

+$75 for 2mb. 4 to 6mb cache @ .33Ghz
+$49 for 6mb. 6 to 12mb cache @ .17Ghz

That logic follows through that. while I have had a beer im sure you maths folk can work out the % Mhz to +Cache in both cases.

But $40 ish for 6mb of cache. makes me more curious about %/manufacture cost of the die overall.

my report cards always said i was easily distracted :P. So with all the new pins ontop of the I7, Id speculate the jan cores will feature similar pins. then even go so far as to guess they are used to program cpu with all the spec data from speed/mult/cache size. (why not just manufacture one item then limit to suit?). lol

Anyways; comment as you will.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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