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Intel partners reveal plans for new processor socket designs

In a memo copied to DailyTech, Intel partners recently discussed details regarding Intel's next-generation socket designs.

Intel's next-generation processor family, codenamed Nehalem, integrates the memory controller directly onto the processor die -- a feature already standard on AMD's K8 and K10 core architecture. 

Where companies traditionally increase pin count for new processor designs, Intel's LGA715 (also dubbed Socket H) will actually decrease the amount of pins from 775 to 715.  Since the memory controller will reside on the processor, Nehalem processors no longer need the additional signaling from the processor to the Northbridge. 

Guidance released to Japanese PC Watch claims this new desktop socket will actually utilize a 1160-pin LGA1160 design instead. Intel officials would not reveal exact pin count details.

LGA1366, on the other hand, will greatly increase the pin-count for cross-CPU communication via Intel's QuickPath Interface.  AMD increased its pin-count for server chipsets when it migrated from PGA940 to LGA1207 design last year.

Server Nehalem processors will use Registered DDR3 memory; desktop processors will utilize the unregistered variant.   While not electrically compatible with DDR2, DDR3 still uses 240 pins for signally thus eliminating the need to increase pins on account of the system memory.

As one Intel engineer who agreed to speak on conditions of anonymity put it, "We try to reduce the pin counts as much as possible to eliminate cross talk and other interference." He adds, "But we do try to leave some pins for overhead and future use."

Nehalem-based CPUs will use Intel's second-generation land grid array (LGA) design.  The use of "pins" in context of the land grid array is a bit of a misnomer as the processor interfaces with the socket design via pads rather than pins.  This LGA design is recognized by both AMD and Intel for its ability to increase "pin" density and durability.  

Corporate roadmaps from Tyan and Supermicro both detail LGA1366 designs for sampling by the end of Q2 2008.  Desktop LGA715 variants, on the other hand, won't see mass production until the second half of 2008, with a target launch of Q4 2008.

Intel guidance slates LGA1366 Tylersburg chipsets for a Q3 2008 launch.  Desktop Havendale and Lynnfield chipsets using the LGA715 design are on the record for Q4 2008.

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RE: obselete?
By keitaro on 11/28/2007 7:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
It seems I always end up upgrading to the latest platform when the current CPU interface design is on its last leg. I upgraded when S939 was about to switch over to M2. It looks like I'll be going LGA775 when the following year will have LGA715 starting out.

Here's one part that I'm curious about... with current DDR2 market as it is now, will the first run/generation of LGA715 processors be capable of differentiating DDR2 and DDR3? I ask this because eventually DDR3 will come down in price and DDR2, much like DDR right now, will phase out. The part that bugs me is the fact that if we wanted to use DDR3 that there's the possibility we needed a new CPU (and maybe a new board too) rather than just ditching the old RAM and installing the new ones. Not only would it be less of a hassle but it's likely to save folks like me a whole lot of trouble of ditching old hardware just to use the current ones.

RE: obselete?
By xsilver on 11/28/2007 7:56:04 PM , Rating: 5
Here's 2 things that have been observed in the last 10 years of computing

1) Companies prefer that you change out all your components because that means more sales for them. They don't engineer products to last long (one exception being socket A)

2) In hindsight, you must have been an incredible fortune teller to be able to master the art of buying hardware. Just at the right time too, in order to get some extended use out of such hardware before it being obselete and have no upgrade path.

RE: obselete?
By glomag on 11/28/2007 8:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
Ha, socket A! That's what I'm using in my main desktop PC right now. I do have a 2.2ghz turion based laptop though. By the time I can afford new hardware (i.e. AM2 right now) I'm too tempted to wait for the new stuff to come out. Then when it is released, surprise, I can't afford it. Maybe I should just stop whining and get a job. Anyone need me to build you a computer?

RE: obselete?
By KingstonU on 11/28/2007 10:32:40 PM , Rating: 5
Sometimes it feels worse when you're like me and you work and have the money to buy a shiny new system that could play Crysis but there's not point because you don't have the time to play it anyway :(

RE: obselete?
By Bluestealth on 11/28/2007 11:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
I am thinking of selling my computers guts and getting a mATX computer...
1. I don't really play that many games, very often, and everything I really want to play is in development for a while
2. My enthusiast motherboard CANNOT get/stay in S3/S1 standby, when will this problem end :(
3. It bleeds power due to idling video card as well as having a nice loud humm
4. I hate my X-Fi and want to smash it into pieces, fix your damn software already

RE: obselete?
By goku on 11/29/2007 12:44:41 PM , Rating: 1
I bet you're using vista, aren'tcha?

RE: obselete?
By Bluestealth on 11/30/2007 1:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
No :( XP on my desktop, but Vista doesn't work either (Have tried RTM)... Gentoo Works with S1 sometimes. S3 on all OSes I have tested causes the computer to wake up after a few seconds and/or have video never come back up.

Still haven't the X-Fi driver to install cleanly and work on Gentoo.

BTW I think all the standby/resume problems revolve around the 965P-DQ6 being a pile of garbage. I will NEVER buy another Gigabyte product. It is fairly stable but it cannot handle restarts/startups well, or use standby even when not being overclocked.

RE: obselete?
By Treckin on 11/28/2007 11:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
Hear Hear!
I used to blow SOOO much time on computer games in high school. Starting with Doom 2, it went to tribes, sin, half life, starCraft, Diablo 2, etc. I cant believe that people still have the attention span and extra time to pump into that!

RE: obselete?
By Crassus on 11/29/2007 10:36:29 AM , Rating: 2
I hear you. 10 years ago I was on top of all the hardware news and product releases, and I build a couple of systems - for other people ('cause I had no money, being a poor student and all).
Now I could afford a new system, but I'm not even close to making good use of my current gaming rig (S939 4200+, 7900GT). Heck, I didn't even attempt to o/c the 7900 so far, and I have it for more than a year now. I'm currently trying to catch up on HL2 ... playing about 2 hours a week (on a good week). No point of getting a better system, I'd rather get a better monitor at work, where I spend 10+ hours a day. Man, that's so sad ... (/whining)

RE: obselete?
By Spuke on 11/29/2007 11:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not up on all the details myself but I try to keep current. I just upgraded my system to a X2 6000. Seems upgrades are coming every 3 years for me. I'll buy Crysis when I get my 8800GT. Right now I'll stick to the demo as I'm not gaming much anyways (maybe every 3 to 4 months I'll play for 30 minutes to an hour). When I'm finally done with school, then I'll play more. Right now it's just not that important.

RE: obselete?
By Etern205 on 11/28/2007 10:59:44 PM , Rating: 2
From the looks of it, looks like right now if you want your motherboard socket to last for some time, then you will have to get it when if first comes out. But of course Intel will still screw you with their change of chipsets in order to support newer cpus.

RE: obselete?
By Screwballl on 11/29/2007 11:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
I find that buying during the first big price drop allows for a good upgrade time. 775 started during the pentium 4 days so is a bit outdated even now. The DDR3 and new chipsets just lengthened its life another year or two. I myself built one in March with a E6600, X1950GT (PCIe) and P965 chipset but I tend to build a new one every 2-2 1/2 years. This allows the current computer to still be usable and able to run much of the current software for around 4 years. I am a gamer on a budget but I know my previous build (AthlonXP 3000+, 1GB DDR, 9600XT AGP8X) is still very capable for many games, just not the latest ones. Even this E6600 can be strained with many brand new games like Crysis and COD4 (but this is not a problem as I refuse to step into WindowsMe ver2 aka Vista).
As technology progresses, I find it is best to build a new system with close to top of the line (depending on your budget) every 18-24 months. In my case the E6600 system is used for games (under XP) and every day usage (under Fedora Core 8 x64), and I use my XP3000+ system for my work from home job (XP). The wife is happy with her P4 1.8GHz with 512MB PC800 RDRAM (a previous build).
It all depends on your personal usage as to when you should build or buy. If your AthlonXP system is still running great and have no need for DirectX 10 or high end games/software then there should be no need to upgrade. Even if you choose, you can still get a X1950GT AGP video card to extend the life of the system another year.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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