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The new Westmere-EX CPU will bring 10 cores to a single server socket.  (Source: Anandtech)

Intel will keep the CORE-ix brand names for its upcoming "Sandy Bridge" architecture redesign.  (Source: Anandtech)

"Sandy Bridge" will use a ring bus to allow the on-chip cores and media units (including the on-die GPU) to access the cache.  (Source: Anandtech)
Chipmaker doesn't reveal launch date for the Westmere-EX

Intel likely today set those looking to deploy a high-performance single socket server solution salivating with its unveiling of the Westmere-EX.  Following the Gulftown lineup -- which trickled out starting in March 2010 -- the Westmere-EX is Intel's latest 32 nm Westmere chip.

Westmere is very similar to the
Nehalem 45 nm architecture, meaning it's a "tick" design -- not a major redesign.  That's not to say there isn't enough to be excited about here, though.  Intel is making good use of its extra die space saved by the shrink and the Westmere-EX packs an incredible 10 cores in a single socket package.  That adds up to a total of 20 threads.

For the supercomputing-minded, the new chip bumps the amount of usable memory from 1TB (64 DIMM slots) to 2TB.  There's no official word on the name of the processor -- past
Gulftown server designs were in the Xeon 3600- and 5600-series.  Also not revealed are clock speeds and launch date.

Perhaps more exciting was new details Intel revealed about its upcoming "tock" (architecture redesign), code-named
Sandy Bridge The upcoming 32 nm architecture will feature a ring design for its last-level cache access.  Cache will be accessible by an on-chip 3D Graphics Processing Unit, the four (or potentially more) cores, and the Media Processing unit.  The ring bus is designed to deliver high-bandwidth to the various connected cores in the chip.

The processor will feature the return of Turbo Boost mode, which allows the easy overclocking of Intel's processors.

Sandy Bridge PC processors will keep the CORE-i3, i5, and i7 designations and will be rebranded the  "new CORE-i3..."  That approach is likely to create confusion among customers about exactly what they're buying, given that the average user likely wouldn't be able to pick a Nehalem i7 from a Westmere i7 or Sandy Bridge i7.

On a more positive note, though, 
AnandTech is reporting that the Media Processing Unit will include video transcode hardware.  In a demo that hardware crunched ~1 minute long 30Mbps 1080p HD video clip to an iPhone compatible format in under 10 seconds.  The transcode hardly can be viewed as Intel's attempt to fend of NVIDIA's GPU computing from entering the consumer market.

GPU computing is a hot new field of computing -- it centers around the notion that dedicated video hardware can outperform CPUs at a number tasks, including chemical simulations, video encoding, physics simulations, and more.



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RE: not that Im complainging but
By ekv on 9/13/2010 7:32:27 PM , Rating: 3
Depends on what you use your PC for. Granted if it's just word processing, stick with your Core 2 or Q9650, etc. If you have a side business where you're Photoshop'ing or making video games then you'll want some more horsepower.

Home gaming can actually put 10 cores and 20 threads to use. The XBOX/360 already has multiple threads and it is quite convenient. It does take some thought to use the parallelism, and that is why it is taking a couple "years" to take full advantage of the hardware.

Besides, I love b*tchin' hardware. Can't get enough 8)


RE: not that Im complainging but
By dark matter on 9/14/2010 2:27:01 AM , Rating: 3
Photoshopping? Really? Video, yes, but photoshop you do not need a 10 core machine. I use RAW files and trust my Core2Duo still handles it rather well. A quad would be nice. But 10 cores. The difference would be so negligible.

The only application for 10 cores would be a server (virtualisation). I would imagine that GPU's would be better served for Video rendering and 3d rendering.

Don't buy into the Intel hype. 10 Cores on a home machine? Absolutely no need. Seriously.



By piroroadkill on 9/14/2010 3:52:04 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, this is pretty much true. I can't possibly justify upgrading my CPU, because I can still play the latest games fine, and it does everything I need to, with good speed (Core 2 Duo @ 3.4GHz). The only upgrade I think that would make a decent difference would be an SSD.


By piroroadkill on 9/14/2010 3:53:47 AM , Rating: 1
Also, not to shit on your chips, but Photoshop can consume resources if you require it to. Creating a large, large canvas (20000x30000, for example) for drawing, will absorb resources as you fill it, and to be honest, the limiting factor then seems to be HDD speed as it spews data onto the disk


RE: not that Im complainging but
By ekv on 9/14/2010 4:47:02 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Photoshopping? Really?
If you have a couple thousand large RAW files to process at a time, yeah, it helps to have some more CPU. Of course, that also would require Adobe re-writing their software to utilize that kind of parallelism ... I'm not holding my breath.

My i7 does well, but there are times when I max it out ... and there are a couple more things I'd like to get done. Not often, but it would be nice to have the capability. [Competition being a good thing as far as consumer pricing is concerned].

I'm not hyping Intel. In fact, I think the SB GPU was somewhat crippled. AMD may be able to capitalize, but we shall see.
quote:
10 Cores on a home machine?
If man were meant to fly... 640k ought to be enough memory for anybody ... 3 or 4 IBM mainframes ought to serve the worlds needs ... and so on 8)


RE: not that Im complainging but
By saganhill on 9/14/2010 7:54:04 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree 100%. I rip videos and can tell you that using an i7 CPU has faster results. Using photoshop(64bit) has faster results. All other computing has faster results... And its not "negligible".

And saying "absolutly no need" for faster CPUs and computers in general is like saying no one will ever need more than 637kb of memory in any computer. The arogance of such a statement will ALWAYS fail and history will ALWAYS prove you wrong. Seriously...


RE: not that Im complainging but
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 8:12:40 AM , Rating: 2
The point is that 90% of people have absolutely no need for 10-core CPUs. Or really even quad-cores. The only thing driving this stuff is power users and games.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By Zarsky on 9/14/2010 1:42:47 PM , Rating: 3
That's why they still sell dual cores!

But as the tech goes further, and more and more people have 2 or more cores, that's when developers are starting to optimize their software for more cores.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By YashBudini on 9/21/2010 11:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The point is that 90% of people have absolutely no need for 10-core CPUs. Or really even quad-cores. The only thing driving this stuff is power users and games.

The same could be said of you childish car fetish.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By DaveSylvia on 9/14/2010 9:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
There was a time when a CPU struggled just to play an MP3. Soon after, it was awesome that we could rip a song off a CD into an MP3 - only it took 30 minutes per song.

Now we can rip a whole CD in less than 10 min!

Until both ATI and nVidia agree on a standard for GPGPU, video encoding and ripping on the GPU will still be somewhat immature.

A 10-core beast would plow through a video encode process - with today's software. This will be useful for 90% of the people - just not right now. You have to start somewhere! This will trickle down and that won't happen unless it comes out at the high-end first.

There will absolutely be a need for this - don't be so short-sited.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By Nutzo on 9/14/2010 11:10:26 AM , Rating: 2
I have yet to find video compression software that will make full usage of my quad core i7 860 @3.5Ghz.
Most packages only end up pushing it to 25%-35%, using only 2-3 cores. It's not I/O bound either, as I can actually run 2 video compression tasks at the same time with only a 5% drop in speed on each task.


By theapparition on 9/14/2010 10:02:05 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Don't buy into the Intel hype. 10 Cores on a home machine? Absolutely no need. Seriously.

Sigh.
Did IQ's just drop sharply when I was away? <\movie reference>

Where in your mind did you ever get the idea that Intel was marketing this for a home computer? It's a server/workstation chip, and will be marketed and priced accordingly.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By EricMartello on 9/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: not that Im complainging but
By ianweck on 9/14/2010 4:32:12 PM , Rating: 4
Wow! I've seen alot of fanboys on these forums but I've never seen a multi-core fanboy before.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By Ammohunt on 9/14/2010 2:55:25 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The only application for 10 cores would be a server (virtualisation). I would imagine that GPU's would be better served for Video rendering and 3d rendering.


You said it Virtuali z ation people automatically think large server farms;cloud computing to a lesser extent. Think bigger how about running a hyper-visor on the bare metal of your ten core system while running multiple virtualized applications/Operating systems from different architectures I could seamlessly switch to a Gnome application running on an Ubuntu slice seamlessly from a Windows desktop the options could be limitless.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By Nutzo on 9/14/2010 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
I agree to a certain extent.
I find the i3/i5 dual cores to be plenty fast. i3 for home/basic office, and a higher end i5 in laptops and desktops that need to run the ocasional VM.

As for Servers, Dual quad cores is a must as it allows me to have several virtualize application servers instead of trying to install everyting on a single OS.
I find it more cost effective to buy dual lower end quad cores than to buy a single high end quad.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By invidious on 9/14/2010 2:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
Very few computer games currently support 4 cores and those that do don't use them efficiently. The best core2duo runs games better than the best core2quad. Sure the four core i7's may be faster than core2's but they are a completely different architecture and cost far more.


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