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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 TheRequiem on 9/13/2010 9:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not quite sure if I agree to this assessment. We can always use faster processor's. While 10 cores is obviously for servers, the software for these system's in place are geared toward these configuration's, not for gaming or home use. With that being said, what matter's here is the archictectural design in these processor's. They are innovative in the fact that they represent new instructions and abilities, yes, but they are important because they will greatly speed up current software and games that we use. Better hardware, even though maybe a few years ahead of software is still good because it leads the way to better and more efficient programming.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By Silver2k7 on 9/14/2010 3:00:32 AM , Rating: 3
server hardware usually trickles down.

we didn't need 32-bit or 64-bit at first in the home either, but now we do.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By FITCamaro on 9/14/2010 8:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
64-bit came about because of memory address space limits. Not really the need for faster CPUs.


RE: not that Im complainging but
By lamerz4391 on 9/14/2010 11:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
Why the hell was that downranked? It's true.


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