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New sockets, chipsets and architecture en route from Intel before 2009

Nehalem will likely be the most aggressive processor architecture in Intel's portfolio since the original Pentium. With the launch of the Core architecture, the company announced its tick-tock strategy: design new architecture, then shrink the process node.  Rinse and repeat.

Tick-tock is alive and well as Intel's corporate roadmap reveals additional details about its desktop iteration of 45nm quad-core Nehalem, dubbed Bloomfield.

Nehalem will be fundamentally different from the Core architecture for no less than two reasons. The company will move the memory controller from the core logic on the motherboard to the processor die.  This tactic has been a cornerstone for the AMD K8 architecture since 2003.

In addition, Nehalem will also feature a new bus interconnect, currently dubbed Quick Path Interconnect.  This new interconnect behaves very similar to HyperTransport, currently used on all AMD platforms since K8.

A new bus and memory controller means a new socket design. Existing motherboards are not compatible with Nehalem-based processors.  The new desktop socket, labeled LGA1366, will completely replace the existing LGA775 interconnect. 

The company will replace the X38 and yet to be announced X48 desktop chipsets with the Tylersburg chipset family and ICH10 southbridge for these first LGA1366 motherboards. 

Corporate guidance also suggests the company will likely ditch all DDR2 support in favor of DDR3, at least on the high end platforms.  All Bloomfield processors will feature support three DDR3 channels.

However, not everything is known about Nehalem just yet.  Corporate guidance suggests Bloomfield will feature a new revision of Hyper-Threading.  Although each Bloomfield features four physical cores, the processor will dynamically allocate additional threads -- Bloomfield computers will detect eight logical cores.

Bloomfield will feature less cache than Intel's high-end 45nm Penryn offerings slated for release between now and Q4 2008.  However, unlike the 12MB L2 cache featured on Penryn, the 8MB L3 cache on all Nehalem offerings can be shared between all four on-die cores.

Intel's highest-end Bloomfield processors will feature a 130W thermal envelope.  Extreme Edition Penryn processors, the first on the 45nm node, have a thermal envelope that tops out around 136W.  Intel's Q9550 processor (2.8 GHz, 45nm quad-core) sports a 95W TDP.

Paul Otellini, Intel CEO, boldly announced that Nehalem as "taped out" at the Intel Developer Forum last September.  The tape out designates when a design team has moved from the design to working samples. 

At both Intel and AMD, the tape out comes approximately one year before the actual launch date.  True to tick-tock, Bloomfield's debut will also come one year after the 45nm node launch, or Penryn.


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RE: What I'd like to see.
By darkpaw on 10/27/2007 10:56:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, It would be nice if they took the AMD approach to on die FSB and allow backward computability with older memory technology, thus allowing users and oems to use the type of RAM most suitable for their budget or application.


AMD doesn't do this, its the primary reason everyone with a S939 got screwed. They changed the whole socket just to accommodate a new memory type. Maybe they'll do this for the DDR2/3 transition, but there are plenty of people still bitter about the last time.


RE: What I'd like to see.
By KernD on 10/27/2007 8:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have a S939 and I didn't get screwed in any way. I've had it for 2 and a half year. I'm skipping AM2 and going directly to AM2+.

How did anyone get screwed out of buying one? You could upgrade for a long time with that same socket, even after the DDR2 K8 were out you could still buy DDR K8. I could have upgraded my processor to a dual core with much higher clock speed if I had wanted too.

AM2 buyers didn't get screwed either, they can still upgrade to a Phenom. They won't have all the cool feature of HT3 and the split power plane for the IMC but there is always a down side to upgrading.

It's exactly like the first LGA775 for Intel, you can update the processor, but your FSB won't increase.


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