Intel has officially introduced the first member of a new family of Nehalem processor designs, the company's most advanced desktop processor ever, the Intel Core i7 processor.
The Core i7 processor speeds video editing, games and other Internet and computer activities by up to 40 percent without increasing power consumption, according to Intel.
"Intel has delivered the fastest desktop processor on Earth to the most demanding users on Earth, the ones who are using their PCs for video, gaming and music," said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. "When you couple what is Intel's biggest leap in chip design with other incredible innovations like Intel's solid state drives, the Core i7 processor has redefined the computer of tomorrow."
An early presentation of the new Nehalem chips had been posted
two weeks ago on CDRInfo.com. The two major characteristics of the new i7 architecture are the triple-channel integrated memory controllers and the new interface called Quick Path Interconnect (QPI). Other highlights include the monolithic die to consolidate all four cores in a single piece of silicon, and the shared L3 cache. Further improvements include the use of the Hyper-threading as well as the Turbo Boost technologies. The Core i7 processors are also optimized to operate with Intel's X58 chipset.
Through an on-die power control unit and using new "power gate" transistors based on Intel's 45 nanometer, high-k metal gate manufacturing process, Turbo Boost automatically adjusts the clock speed of one or more of the four individual processing cores for single- and multi-threaded applications to boost performance, without increasing power consumption. The Core i7 also has the latest Intel power-saving technologies, allowing desktops to go into sleep states formerly reserved for Intel-based notebooks.
The Core i7 processor more than doubles the memory bandwidth of previous Intel "Extreme" platforms, speeding the transfer of computer bits and bites in and out of the processor with Intel Quickpath Technology. Designed with Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology, the processor also allows multiple computing threads to run simultaneously, enabling it to do two things at once.
The Intel Core i7 processors and Intel X58 Express Chipset-based Intel Desktop Board DX58SO Extreme Series are for sale immediately from several computer manufacturers online and in retail stores, as well as a boxed retail product via channel online sales.
The Core i7 processor is the first member of the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture family; server and mobile product versions will be in production later. Each Core i7 processor features an 8 MB level 3 cache and three channels of DDR3 1066 memory. Intel's top performance processor, the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition, also removes overspeed protection, allowing enthusiasts to further increase the chip's speed.
Intel is already one year ahead of AMD in offering chips with 45 nanometer. Until now, rival AMD has argued that Intel strapped together two separate double cores and called them a quad core, while AMD has had a true quad core.
Analysts say these features are available with AMD's new Shanghai chip
, but note that it serves only the thinnest slice of the market at the high end.
AMD buyers must wait until next year to get the consumer version for desktops.
Intel said that later versions will shrink the chip further from the 45 nanometer process to the 32 nanometer process.
AMD plans to shrink its chips to 32 nanometers in late 2010, with versions in production in 2011.
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