Latest News On Computers Processors


Monday, May 4, 2009

Intel Core i7 intel’s latest CPU is here

It's hard to recall a more anticipated CPU release than the Core i7, the desktop CPU which will be available in a few weeks, based on the microarchitecture codenamed Nehalem that is being launched today. As soon as Intel began releasing�bits of information last year and started showing off their architecture at conferences, performance exceeded expectations, and the buzz began.
And from there, the buzz grew, along with expectations. The desktop processor came to be known as Core i7 (with no explanation where the number 7 came from, but it's easy to see why Intel kept the highly successful Core name), and we're finally able to share full information and benchmarks with you - a full 2 weeks ahead of the official launch of the retail desktop CPU.
Sometimes Great Isn't Good Enough
Intel's previous microarchitecture, codenamed "Core", stems from sheer necessity due to the failure of "Netburst" microarchitecture. After the debacle that was the Prescott core, Intel abandoned Netburst, and worked on developing a version of their Pentium-M microarchitecture (which is actually a hybridized, modernized�version of Pentium 6 for mobile, since there was no way they could make Netburst work for mobile computing) for desktop and server applications. This came to be known as Core, and because Intel alternates between refreshing a microarchitecture, and inventing a new one every other year, turned into Penryn last year.
Core and Penryn had little trouble dominating anything AMD had to offer during those years. Just last week, we took a look at AMD's fastest desktop processor - the Phenom X4 9950, and it could barely keep up with Intel's bottom- and middle- range quad core processors. However, because of the way they are designed, there is at least one thing holding them back from their true potential - the Frontside Bus.
Although Intel made vast improvements going from Netburst to Core to Penryn, the Frontside Bus remained. Intel was able to sort of negotiate around it, by offering vast amounts of L2 cache on their higher-end models, and eventually had the FSB running at 1600 MHz. However, the limits of of the FSB were quickly being reached, and there was no way Intel could take Penryn much further without a huge change in architecture. That's why Nehalem introduces an integrated memory controller, and an interface known as QuickPath�for the CPU cores to communicate extremely efficiently.
If all this sounds familiar, you are correct -�AMD saw the need to move to a similar design many years ago, and they have been using an integrated memory controller with the HyperTransport bus since 2003. This tells us that it isn't the design of AMD's processors that fail, but the implementation (at least on the desktop side).
Core and Penryn bore many processors; on the desktop there were about 10 different core codenames, including the "XE" variants. The mobile platform also saw 10 of its own, and Intel offered 11 variants intended for the server market. This sounds like a lot of different cores, but many of the same ones overlap between markets. For the most part, these cores are all very similar; the main differences are usually cache size, FSB speeds, and a few other things.
And that clearly explains one of the main philosophies of Nehalem - have a core that can be adapted and manipulated as Intel sees fit, depending on the target user of the processors. Nehalem will supply Intel with desktop, server, and mobile processors, and there will be more differences other than cache size and FSB speeds

Intel adds two new Atoms for netbooks

Intel on Wednesday introduced two new Atom processors for mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, such as netbooks, and demonstrated an upcoming Atom-based netbook platform that it said significantly cuts power usage.
The Atom processor powers many of the netbook PCs that have proven popular in recent years, such as Asus's Eee. Demand is such that, in March, Intel announced it would begin outsourcing Atom production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) in order to increase the chip's availability.
The two new processors, the Z550 and Z515, include performance enhancements. The Z550 runs at 2GHz--the fastest yet for an Atom chip--and supports Hyper-Threading, a technology designed to allow more calculations to be carried out in parallel. The chip is the highest-performance processor running at under three watts of power, Intel said.
The Z515 is aimed at conserving power in hardware with small and light form factors. It uses a technology called 'Burst Performance' that allows it to run at 1.2GHz when higher performance is needed, for short periods.
Also on Wednesday, Intel's Ultra Mobility Group general manager Anand Chandrasekher gave the first demonstration of Moorestown during a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing. Moorestown is an Atom-based platform set for release next year.
When idling, the platform uses 10 times less power than Intel's current Atom-based platform, Intel said. This is achieved through the use of new power-management techniques and a more advanced manufacturing process, the company said.
Moorestown features a system-on-a-chip that has an Atom processor core manufactured using Intel's 45nm process. This is integrated with a graphics, memory and video controller and an input/output hub.
Recently introduced netbooks using Atom include Samsung's N120 and Dell's Inspiron Mini 10.

Intel pushes new mini motherboards

Chipmaker Intel Wednesday launched two new motherboards suited to nettops and small form factor desktops at its annual partner conference on the Gold Coast.
One of the boards, the D945GSEJT (codenamed Johnstown), featuring the 45nm Intel Atom processor and Mobile intel 945GSE Express Chipset, will only be available for system integrators and channel original equipment manufacturers.
The board adds extra features--such as fanless passive cooling, VGA and DVI dual graphics, wireless connectivity via the PCI express mini card slot and a horizontal SO-DIMM leading to a total motherboard height of 20mm. These features, however, come at a higher price which has led Intel to believe that the broader channel would use the company's other cheaper boards.
Those who buy it would have to build a custom board for their own needs, according to Norman Cheng, product line manager within Intel's desktop group.
Johnstown will be available towards the end of the first half of this year. The second board, the DG41MJ (codenamed Misty Lake), was expected to have wider appeal and will be available to the broader channel.
The board is intended for small form factor PCs for home entertainment and daily computing. Misty Lake was Intel's answer to requests to make a cheaper version of its other options. The small board, which supports Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, has legacy features such as a parallel port, integrated VGA and DVI, Intel High Definition Audio and an integrated 10/100/1000 network connection.
The board is now available for PC manufacturers and system builders to order from Intel distributors. The company was unable to say when it would be more broadly available at the time of publication.

Gelid Silent Spirit review CPU cooler

Silent Spirit Heatpipe CPU cooler
SKU code:
Street price:
35 USD \ 23 EUR
Aaah, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to review something as simple as a CPU cooler every now and then. Believe it or not, all that graphics, CPU, mainboard and memory testing can get a little boring at one point. Change is good. And that "change" definitely applies in the world of cooling. Over the years we have seen several methods applied. The traditional aluminum fan activated coolers, water-cooling, Peltier cooling, yet the most extraordinary and now commonly accepted form of cooling is heat-pipe based.
What? Heatpipe cooling ? Well, when done right you can achieve three things. Pretty decent cooling, low noise, and nice aesthetics.
This is where we land at the premises of the new and unknown Gelid. Armed with Swiss management and design team, yet based in Hong Kong Gelid is what might become the new Arctic cooling. Now I make that statement as Gelid ... well let's look it up in the dictionary:
Adj. 1. gelid - extremely cold; "an arctic climate"; "a frigid day"; "gelid waters of the North Atlantic"; "glacial winds"; "icy hands"; "polar weather"arctic, frigid, icy, glacial, polarcold - having a low or inadequate temperature or feeling a sensation of coldness or having been made cold by e.g. ice or refrigeration; "a cold climate"; "a cold room"; "dinner has gotten cold"; "cold fingers"; "if you are cold, turn up the heat"; "a cold beer"
Need I say more ? You'll notice a lot of similarities. Recently Gelid silently introduced their thermal paste and silent design fan, a couple of weeks ago they however launched their Gelid Silent Spirit, as you can guess a heatpipe based cooling solution.
Today we'll test a Intel Core Extreme QX9770 processor in both a default and overclocked state with this cooler. But first let's have a peek.

IBM Says Alliance Set for 28nm

On the heels of Globalfoundries' 28nm hint yesterday, IBM is announcing that its entire bulk processing alliance is ready to manufacture using 28nm.Recently Globalfoundries hinted to the upcoming 28nm processing in an interview with X-bit Labs, briefly mentioning the process while talking about competing for AMD's graphics business. Although partially owned by AMD, the company is actually one of many manufactures in IBM's Bulk Process Alliance; Chartered Semiconductor, Samsung Electronics, ST Microelectronics, and Infineon Technologies are also part of the Alliance. However, prior to the interview, manufacturers--or rather early access clients--received hands-on access to a 28nm low-power technology evaluation kit back in December 2008. Then, in March, the kit was made available to the general marketplace. With that said, it's really been no secret that 28nm processing would arrive in the near future.However, early this morning, IBM officially announced that the Alliance companies are jointly developing the 28nm, high-k metal gate (HKMG), low-power bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process technology. While that description may seem rather long-winded, the wait for the actual technology will be even longer, as IBM said that "early risk" production for 28nm is slated for Q2 2010. IBM also said that when the time comes, current clients using the 32nm technology will be able to migrate to 28nm without having to completely overhaul the design."Clients can begin their designs today in leadership 32nm HKMG technology and then transition to 28nm technology for density and power advantages, without the need for a major redesign," IBM said. "By assuring a path from 32nm to 28nm technology, this migration methodology offers clients lower risk, reduced cost and faster time-to-market."But why is 28nm such a big deal? As stated by IBM, the low-power 28nm technology platform can provide a 40 percent performance improvement when compared to the larger 45nm chip, and more than 20 percent reduction in power. Additionally, the HKMG technology--allowing for one of the industry's smallest SRAM cells at 0.120 square microns--offers favorable (power) leakage characteristics, stability, and low minimum voltage, providing an optimized battery life for mobile products."Through this collaboration, IBM and its alliance partners are helping to accelerate development of next-generation technology to achieve high-performance, energy-efficient chips at the 28nm process level, maintaining our focus on technology leadership for our clients and partners," said Gary Patton, vice president for IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center on behalf of the technology alliance

Intel Says 6-Cores Not Delayed

Intel clarifies that 6-core 'Gulftown' processors not delayed from 2009 to 2010.
Yesterday we ran a report indicating that several other sites reported that Intel would be delaying the release of its 32nm 6-core Westmere-based CPU, codenamed Gulftown. Intel's Westmere codename represents the 32nm line of Nehalem micro-architecture processors. Intel today confirmed with us that the reported delay is not true, and that Gulftown has always been a 2010 product.
Some sites, including even Wikipedia, incorrectly indicate Gulftown as being a late 2009 product. Intel's public roadmap says 2010 and Intel representatives confirm that the roadmap has not changed.
Intel's first 32nm CPU line based on the Nehalem architecture will be its Westmere line, starting off with a 2-core CPU slated for Q4'09 production.

Intel Cuts Prices of Core 2 Duo, Quad Chips

Late last month rumors did the rounds about Intel cutting processor prices, with the first round slated to occur on April 19. Good news folks, the rumors were true!
Intel this week confirmed suspected price cuts of several Core 2 Quad CPUs. The company also cut prices on a few of its Core 2 Duos. Price cuts aside, last month's rumors also fingered April 19 as the release date for the launch of the Core 2 Quad Q8400 (95W) and the Core 2 Quad Q8400S (65W), both clocked to 2.66 GHz and priced at $183 and $245, respectively. Also true.Given that these rumors were true, it's safe to assume that the same reports were correct in saying Intel would launch more new processors at the end of May, including Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core parts, the Core 2 Duo E7600 and two new Core i7s: the 3.06 GHz 950 and the 3.33 GHz 975, priced at $562 and $999, respectively. We'll keep you posted on that one. Further price cuts are also scheduled for around this time in July.
Check out the April price cuts below:
Old Price
New Price
April 19
Core 2 Quad Q8400 (2.66 GHz)
Core 2 Quad Q8400S (2.66 GHz)
Core 2 Quad Q9300
Core 2 Quad Q9550S
Core 2 Quad Q9400S
Core 2 Quad Q8200S
Core 2 Duo SP9400
Core 2 Duo SL9400
Core 2 Duo SU9400