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More "Penryn" details emerge

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‚Äôs single-socket quad-core Xeon offering.

Update 01/31/2007:  Channel sources have reached out to DailyTech to emphasize that the addition of Hyper-Threading to Penryn-family processors in 2008 is incorrect and the result of dated channel data.  My feelings and thoughts about the retraction can be read on my blog.


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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By saratoga on 2/2/2007 6:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
True...and in a single core environment this would (and is) usually a very good thing. But the scheduler (and apps) sees the HT virtual core as just another core. So if you are running 2 simultaneous threads, there is no method by which you can direct them to the actual core instead of the virtual core.


Actually I think Vista can do this, however its not really all that useful.

quote:
I'm sure that you'd agree that only using a single core efficiently instead of splitting the work between 2 cores kind of defeats the purpose of dual (or more significantly quad) core chips.


Absolutely not. If you have 8 threads available on a quad chip, you sure as hell want to issue all 8. See my point above. Having more threads means less pain when you have to hit main memory, or when you mispredict a branch. Essentially, if you want to use a wide/deep core efficiently, you basically need to have SMT (as Sun, MS and IBM have shown with their products).

Intel may have botched their SMT with HT thanks to the crappiness of the P4, but thats not generally the case, which is why so many new cores coming out have SMT.



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