Despite the plethora of attention Penryn received
over the last few weeks, Intel's newest roadmaps put the processor launch
for Q1'08. This indicates the launch has not necessarily accelerated even
though the initial
tape-out proved extremely successful.
On the other hand, Intel's 2008 roadmap shows every segment simultaneously
deploying 45nm products. Like AMD's recent 65nm Brisbane
launch, Intel guidance notes the processors will start shipping Q4'07
but the actual launch will come as a coordinated 2008 event.
The first Intel 45nm treatments will come from the quad-core Yorkfield and
dual-core Wolfdale desktop processors. Wolfdale has two
physical cores on a single die and up to 6MB of L2 cache. Yorkfield is then two Wolfdale dice on a single package. Also worth
noting: Wolfdale ships with a 1333MHz front-side bus and Yorkfield ships
with a 1066MHz front-side bus. Chipset support will largely come from Bearlake-family
that was previously
disclosed on DailyTech.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two processors is the return of
Hyper-Threading. This, however, does not mean that Yorkfield will
appear as eight logical cores, nor does it mean Wolfdale will appear as
four logical cores. Intel's internal guidance on the subject specifically
claims the processor will ship with Hyper-Threading, but will only utilize 4
threads. On every Intel roadmap in the past, Hyper-Threading doubles the
amount of listed threads in the guidance documentation. Clearly, there is
more of a mystery here still. (Update: Please read the retraction below.)
"The official company policy is that our engineers have left the door open
for Hyper-Threading, but we cannot confirm or deny any future plans for the
technology," adds Intel Public Relations Manager Dan Snyder.
All Penryn cores also include Intel TXT, previously known as Intel LaGrande Technology. TXT stands for Trusted Execution Technology and refers to the collection of devices. The Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, is one component. DMA page protection is another.
Alas, even if 2008 seems like a long time away for the 45nm platform, it's
important to note that all Intel platforms will have 45nm SKUs in Q1'08. Penryn,
the family name for Intel's first generation 45nm consumer CPUs, also refers
specifically to the 45nm dual-core mobile CPU. Intel's current roadmap
claims this processor will lead the Q1'08 mobile push with several low voltage
models coming one quarter later.
For servers, Wolfdale will make an appearance as a dual and single
socket Xeon. It's been long-standing Intel policy to separate desktop,
mobile and server chipsets into different products; Conroe was the Core
2 desktop CPU and Woodcrest, though physically nearly identical, was the
Xeon counterpart. Wolfdale as a server and a desktop CPU indicates
the chips are electrically identical -- though each will likely receive
different packaging for the different sockets.
Yorkfield will not receive the same codenaming treatment as Wolfdale on
the server. Instead, Harpertown will be the quad-core Xeon for two
socket servers. Yorkfield will still be the company’s single-socket
quad-core Xeon offering.
quote: Hyperthreading may provide a performance boost for some multithreaded software that benefits from lots of cores (like 3D rendering), but it won't help for games.
quote: Think about it: it's like having two cores, each running at half speed.
quote: OR, if one thread dominates and the other gets to run only when the main thread is waiting, it's like gaining an additional slow thread... which doesn't really help games much.
quote: That thread will either slow down the main thread (because both can't run at the same time) or it will be unreliable (because you can't count on it to run, the main thread might not have a cache miss for a while).
quote: If your sound is on the slow thread, and the main thread doesn't have a cache miss for a while, your sound is going to skip. OR, your sound won't skip, but it won't skip because the core is running the sound thread instead of running the game thread when it could be running the game thread. So your game will be slower.
quote: At best, HT will boost performance if you have a dual core processor running a 4-core game (like Alan Wake), but it will still be utter crap compared to using a real quad core processor.