bit-tech.net

Nehalem details spill through the Tubes

Nehalem details spill through the Tubes

Unconfirmed Nehalem die image, courtesy of PC Watch Impress, Japan.

More Nehalem news has made its way onto the net recently, via Japanese site PC Watch Impress (translator required). Even if you can't read the Kanji, there are lots of pictures in the link above, which I highly recommend nosing over, showing how things are likely to work inside Nehalem.

The general jist of things is as follows:
  • Nehalem-EX, codenamed Beckton, will have eight cores but supports 16 threads because HyperThreading makes a return. Each pair of cores will have an amount of shared cache between them, then there will be a mahoosive 24MB of shared cache between them all - basically a Stoakley platform on single chip.

    The EX is designed for a multi-processor environment so this has QPI, or Quick Path Interconnect--Intel's alternative to HyperTransport--with four links at 4.8 or 6.4Gbps and an FB-DIMM2 quad-channel memory controller. All this is under the envelope of varying TDPs of 90W, 105W and 130W and the chips use a new LGA socket with 1567 pins, Socket-LS.

  • Quad-core, dual-socket (DP) Nehalem-EP, codenamed Gainestown will also have HyperThreading and 8MB of cache, triple channel DDR3 and two QPI links bundled in either 60, 80 or 130W TDP. It'll also have a new LGA socket, but this time with 1366 pins.

  • The quad-core, "extreme" performance CPU codenamed Bloomfield, will be identical to the DP parts above, but will be single socket only and have a single QPI link. This will also be on socket LGA1366. It is suggested to have a 270mm² die size, about the same as current Kentsfield’s 65nm 286mm² die, but it’ll have nearly 150m more transistors at 731m.

  • Quad-core, performance mainstream CPUs codenamed Lynnfield and Clarkfield, will have a lower clock and lower TDPs of 90W for desktop and 45/55W for mobile. A more normal dual-channel DDR3 is included here with the integrated memory controller, but instead of a QPI link it will include a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot and DMI link to a southbridge instead. It'll have a different socket, again - this time it's called LGA1160.

  • Dual-core chips will still be around next year, with new cores codenamed Havendale and Auburndale - these have HyperThreading, come with 4MB of shared cache and in addition to the integrated memory controller they have a graphics core that's talked to via an internal QPI. The memory controller is dual-channel DDR3, with a TDP of 35-45W for mobile and under 95W for desktop. Additionally, it will have a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 graphics lane included. Like above, it features an LGA1160 socket.

    Remember, all this is stemming from the single CPU socket! AMD processors have had an integrated memory controller since the Athlon 64 launched, but not until Fusion arrives in 2009 now that we'll see a similar CPU from the green team.

    These CPUs will be predominantly mobile or mainstream parts that require integrated graphics and not as much processing power.
Obviously integrating a single PCI-Express x16 lane into the north bridge limits the multi-GPU usage, but it also makes the interface with graphics card, CPU and memory a lot faster being on all one package. In comparison, the more enthusiast-orientated parts will have a separate chipset that handles all the PCI-Express stuff and will require a graphics card to negotiate an extra stop before getting main memory access - a criticism of AMD's current CPUs.

Unfortunately the CPU sockets have been split in two between more mainstream and enthusiast parts - my guess will be that Intel is creating a very niche segment with very few, but expensive CPUs in it. As Intel's flagship product, these parts will require you to buy three DDR3 DIMMs for tri-channel memory, and while we'd assume this to normally be just a bit of a marketing gimmick - remember that SLI or CrossFire will likely only be available on these CPUs as Bloomfield has a QPI to a separate north bridge, unless someone hacks multi-GPU into a "south bridge/MCP" to work with Lynnfield/Clarksfield, but then you're limiting traffic to the bandwidth of the DMI.

The CPU-GPU Havendale and Auburndale processors should feature in many notebooks and your low profile inexpensive PCs. Having a motherboard only need a simple south bridge with everything else on CPU should make things cheaper, but might also have a more restricted upgrade path. In addition, even though Intel has stated it is committed to making integrated graphics far better than it has been, because of the limitation in space and heat output from a single space, that might cause a significant restriction on what it can achieve.

We expect some serious performance out of these CPUs given the current climate, although we are slightly sceptical about the increase in pipeline length Nehalem will have, even if it is just in the low twenties. There's nothing to say that in just a year we'll suddenly all require a whole load more multi-threading capabilities either.

The Japanese website suggests that Bloomfield will be the first Nehalem available in Q4 2008, with the rest possibly arriving in 2009.

Personally, after writing this I'm actually quite concerned about Intel's positioning - I'm worried that now Intel is the current preferred product over AMD, it'll use this leverage to try and suck out as much cash from enthusiasts as possible, and not have them overclock lower parts, like the E6300, Q6600 etc, to perform like £700 CPUs. At the same time, it's also potentially limiting the availability of multi-GPU by its competitors by forcing the separate north bridge, which offers better performance, to potentially only be available onto Bloomfield CPUs. It seems all the cards are in Intel's hands to deal precisely how it wishes.

Discuss these rumours in the forums.

37 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
BlackMage23 3rd December 2007, 10:33 Quote
Yeah, they are milking the enthusiasts. Think about how much one of the boards will cost to go with that. Intel could be shooting themselfs in the foot with this one as they find some enthusiasts may go green.
mutznutz 3rd December 2007, 10:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMage23
Yeah, they are milking the enthusiasts. Think about how much one of the boards will cost to go with that. Intel could be shooting themselfs in the foot with this one as they find some enthusiasts may go green.

I've been looking for an excuse to go back I'll be honest :) ... that may be it :D
Nix 3rd December 2007, 12:28 Quote
I thought they were sticking with the LGA775 socket until at least q2-q3 2009
Tim S 3rd December 2007, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nix
I thought they were sticking with the LGA775 socket until at least q2-q3 2009

It's impossible, given the change of architecture it's about to embark on. Intel has been with LGA775 since the dawn of PCI-Express, which was in the first half of 2004. The fact it's moving away from MCM to a DC architecture is quite a significant overhaul - as significant as AMD's move from MCM to DC.
sandys 3rd December 2007, 12:45 Quote
A new chip, a new motherboard, seems to have been that way with Intel chips for a long time, the number of boards I have had to change for a VRM or some other rubbish when you'd expect a simple drop in is ridiculous, I thought things were changing with 775 what with P$ and C2D and C2Q but with the recent 680i and 45nm incompatibilities it would seem not, I guess it won't change in the future either.
RotoSequence 3rd December 2007, 12:52 Quote
It looks complex, sounds powerful, capable, and above all, extremely expensive. :|
Bindibadgi 3rd December 2007, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
A new chip, a new motherboard, seems to have been that way with Intel chips for a long time, the number of boards I have had to change for a VRM or some other rubbish when you'd expect a simple drop in is ridiculous, I thought things were changing with 775 what with P$ and C2D and C2Q but with the recent 680i and 45nm incompatibilities it would seem not, I guess it won't change in the future either.

Absolutely. Intel claim to have the socket for x number of years, but you had to change from 925X to 955X for dual core CPUs, VRM changes during P4, from P4 to Core 2, 680i to 780i and next that.
DXR_13KE 3rd December 2007, 14:08 Quote
i hope Intel does not screw up again..... not this time..... and i hope they use the same socket for all their nehalem cpus.....
Bindibadgi 3rd December 2007, 14:13 Quote
They aren't, as said in the article - they will be split between two sockets.
TreeDude 3rd December 2007, 14:26 Quote
The HT sounds great for a server, but is it necessary for desktops?

If I am playing a game which has 2 threads, how do I know it is using 2 cores and not 1 core and and the HT? This sounds as if it could potentially hurt performance if the processor management can't tell the difference.

We are just starting to see a benefit of 4 cores in a desktop PC (mainly for high end gaming or video encoding), is 8 really necessary right now? Current tech is moving at such a fast pace right now, the software needs time to catch up. My wallet also needs to catch up.
FragileSocks 3rd December 2007, 14:37 Quote
I still have only one (p4 631) and its working fine for me. No problems in any games. Don't really see a need for any more cores right now in games. It seems to mainly be the GPU that does the vast majority of the work in games, and while Crysis can take advantage of more cores it seems to do fine with just one.
DXR_13KE 3rd December 2007, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
They aren't, as said in the article - they will be split between two sockets.

Did Intel say this? i prefer a confirmation from the horses mouth.....
Redbeaver 3rd December 2007, 14:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoSequence
It looks complex, sounds powerful, capable, and above all, extremely expensive. :|
ditto ;)
Bindibadgi 3rd December 2007, 14:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeDude
The HT sounds great for a server, but is it necessary for desktops?

If I am playing a game which has 2 threads, how do I know it is using 2 cores and not 1 core and and the HT? This sounds as if it could potentially hurt performance if the processor management can't tell the difference.

We are just starting to see a benefit of 4 cores in a desktop PC (mainly for high end gaming or video encoding), is 8 really necessary right now? Current tech is moving at such a fast pace right now, the software needs time to catch up. My wallet also needs to catch up.

Well it's meant to be a much better implementation of hyperthreading. It's being reintroduced because the pipeline is being extended from Core 2 to Nehalem by several stages so it makes sense to make everything useful. It'll be interesting to see if the CPU works better with HT on or off.


DXR - no, this is *all* still unconfirmed.
Brooxy 3rd December 2007, 14:55 Quote
If Intel did use two different sockets, wouldn't this just be what AMD did with the 754 / 939 chips. Cheaper on one socket, more expensive on the other?
Bindibadgi 3rd December 2007, 14:58 Quote
Yea, pretty much, but it depends what speeds and prices Intel wants to release the "939" chips at.
salesman 3rd December 2007, 15:46 Quote
well when i read this i was thinking about making just an average run of the mill PC using an amd processer, because its going to be so freaking cheap. which is what i like.
LeMaltor 3rd December 2007, 15:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by salesman
well when i read this i was thinking about making just an average run of the mill PC using an amd processer, because its going to be so freaking cheap. which is what i like.

This is all for the end of next year/2009 though, if your building a cheap comp now I would not take much notice of all this
DarkLord7854 3rd December 2007, 19:38 Quote
I kinda got lost.. Which one do I want for gaming :)
Sparrowhawk 3rd December 2007, 19:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
I kinda got lost.. Which one do I want for gaming :)
I'm sure Tim will show us the way, when the info becomes available.
Or when he climbs out from under a pile of NDAs.
wuyanxu 3rd December 2007, 21:36 Quote
can i ask 1 question:
for a processor that's already say, quad core, would HT technology speed up or slow down games which usually only require 2 cores or even less to run (namely Crysis)

since 4 cores isn't really being used at all, so i can't get my head around the fact that splitting 1 physical core into 2 logical threads can speed up non-multi-threaded or semi-multi-threaded games.
leexgx 3rd December 2007, 22:34 Quote
in most cases HT hurts games, programs must be HT aware or you have 2 threads running on 1 cpu performace would suffer

, HT is good for projects like bionic or folding@home but the gains are small,

doing video converting benerfit the Best from HT
The_Beast 3rd December 2007, 23:11 Quote
I'm not a fan of SLI so I don't care if they make you pay more


I'll admit tri-SLI looks killer
DXR_13KE 4th December 2007, 01:46 Quote
i notice now that there are in fact 3 sockets..... 1567 pins, 1366 pins and 1160 pins.......
Gravemind123 4th December 2007, 02:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
i notice now that there are in fact 3 sockets..... 1567 pins, 1366 pins and 1160 pins.......

Sort of like the 940, 754 and 939 thing AMD had going back in the day I guess.
notatoad 4th December 2007, 02:50 Quote
three sockets? you've gotta be ****ing me. i was so happy with intel for sticking with 775 for so long, it made buying a processor really worry-free. oh well, maybe amd will be a real competitor by the time all this comes out.
Brooxy 4th December 2007, 03:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
I kinda got lost.. Which one do I want for gaming :)

The one with the best performance?
DarkLord7854 4th December 2007, 04:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooxy
The one with the best performance?

Looking more for cheap but powerful mmmm (i.e. overclocking :p)
Amon 4th December 2007, 05:45 Quote
Holy f**k, Batman!
Kurayamino 4th December 2007, 09:25 Quote
The way I understood is that one of the 3 socket types will be a mobile socket, then 2 desktop processors. I could be wrong though!
Bindibadgi 4th December 2007, 09:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Looking more for cheap but powerful mmmm (i.e. overclocking :p)

I don't think it will happen, or, at least not easily - from the looks Intel might be wanting to "condition" the situation for enthuisats and overclockers.
steveo_mcg 4th December 2007, 10:07 Quote
Looks like AMD's window is starting to open again, lets hope they pull a rabit before i need to upgrade my 939 board so i don't have to get on the mobo/cpu merry-go-round.
DarkLord7854 4th December 2007, 11:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I don't think it will happen, or, at least not easily - from the looks Intel might be wanting to "condition" the situation for enthuisats and overclockers.

i.e. charge lots?

Guess I'll be building my first AMD machine..
Bindibadgi 4th December 2007, 11:23 Quote
Putting my "Intel is in the lead and is a large corporate company" hat on, yes.

Putting my "Intel won't want to screw up its position with enthusiasts who are a small niche and will make a lot of money anyway" hat on, no.
DXR_13KE 4th December 2007, 11:35 Quote
the thing that strikes me is that if AMD has a unified socket (AM2) and has the memory controller and all of that stuff, why not intel?
Cupboard 4th December 2007, 18:00 Quote
If I understood correctly, that is one of the things that this refresh will bring, along with an on-CPU GPU (eek)

Whilst on one had it is good having it all in one chip, it does make upgrading a little harder. I hope they don't make overclocking a bitch, although I suppose it will help AMD a bit.
Gravemind123 4th December 2007, 22:53 Quote
They can't overprice things too much, because not everyone is going to pay through the nose for a bit higher performance. 4 cores with hyperthreading is useless in gaming anyway, so unless it is much better clock for clock then Core2, I can't see it being a viable upgrade for most gamers. I'd definitely buy AMD if Intel limited overclocking and raised prices. Even if they just limited overclocking really. What's the fun if you can't tweak your hardware?
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums