THE FIRST MEMBER OF THE NEHALEM PROCESSOR FAMILY: “CORE I7”
Intel is introducing today the first 3 quadcore processors based on the new Nehalem architecture. They are clocked at 2.66 GHz, 2.93 GHz, and 3.2 GHz and go by the family name “Core i7” 920/940/965.
The top product “i7 965” is an “Extreme Edition” and comes as such with an unlocked multiplier and a QPI speed of 6400 MT/second. The 920 and 940 variants run at 4800 MT/second.
Because of the integrated memory controller the pin-out of the existing LGA 775 interface wasn’t sufficient anymore. “Bloomfield” has therefore a much bigger 1366-pin LGA interface.
The processor package, the socket, and the mounting area are accordingly wider. LGA 775 heatsinks cannot be used anymore or only with new brackets that fit to the much wider mounting holes. The standard heatsink that comes with the processor is mounted as before with push-in pins.
Intel will release for desktop usage 3 different cores based on the Nehalem architecture. The today launched “Bloomfield” core is the high-end version for the desktop. For the time being Intel will continue to produce previous generation 4-core Q9000 and 2-core E8000 “Penryn” processors as mainstream products. In 2009 they will be replaced by a lower clocked 4-core Nehalem variant with the codename “Lynnfield” and a 2-core variant with the coded name Havendale.
It is reported that these lower clocked mainstream Nehalem cores will feature a LGA 1160 interface. This however has not been officially confirmed by Intel. As already mentioned there will be Nehalem processor lines for server and mobile usage as well. The Core i7 “Bloomfield” processors Intel is introducing today are therefore just the beginning of a wave of new products that will hit the market until the end of 2009.
The Nehalem desktop platform comprises not only the new Core i7 processor, but also a new chipset with the codename X58. Because the memory controller has been moved on to the processor die, the previously as “memory controller hub” or “MCH” known chip on the PCB is not existing anymore.
The CPU now incorporates the system memory controller and accesses DDR3 memory through three independent memory channels. The IOH provides support for the two PCIe graphics slots and connects to the CPU via the Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) bus. The ICH provides the support for the SATA, USB and other system interfaces and is connected to the IOH via the DMI bus.