bit-tech.net

Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei

Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei

Intel's Nehalem processor is shaping up well...

MSI showed us how it is currently testing early versions of Intel’s next generation Nehalem architecture, which is based on the Bloomsfield CPU platform and Tylersberg chipset – the latter will be branded under the X58 nomenclature.

First, the CPU and its new socket: while the roadmaps say the high-end Nehalem to be launched in Q4 will have up to eight cores, the one MSI had in its office was just a quad-core but with eight threads.

The socket is still LGA, but instead of the 775 used on current boards, this one now features 1366 pins and is slightly rectangular – not Pentium Pro rectangular, but simply a stretched out square.

The back of the socket now has a metal backplate to brace itself and I’m afraid you’ll be buying a new heatsink too because the socket fittings have changed since LGA775. In fact, the whole area that needs to be exclusively for “Intel CPU use” is now apparently over twice the volume of that compared to LGA775 giving motherboard manufacturers even less space to shoehorn in additional components.

Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei

Since the CPU now has the memory controller built in, the memory slots are now that much higher up the board, guaranteeing space above the upper most PCI-Express x16 graphics slot. MSI also includes six memory slots because the CPU has triple channel DDR3, and exclusively DDR3, so you’ll have to buy at least three DIMMs to make the most of the new upper-tier Intel platform.

Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei

Tylersberg, or X58 as you will come to know it, actually takes up a very large die-space considering it’s (currently) built on 65nm. MSI told us that it was actually significantly hotter than current chipsets mostly because of the super-fast QPI links from the CPU. It also features 36 lanes of PCI-Express 2.0 so you’ll get a full x16 by x16 and even an x4 thrown in for free – here MSI uses it as part of an extra x16 slot, but now it comes without the downside of disabling other components like current boards have. The south bridge is still ICH10 – so nothing new here.

MSI said it was debating getting rid of the floppy port entirely, and even the PS2 ports, however the company's representatives said they always receive complaints when legacy features are dropped – the most recent was a big backlash over dropping the parallel port in favour of using the space for four USB 2.0 ports?!

Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei Nehalem and X58 show up in Taipei

While the board isn’t a final product yet – there are still some design changes to be done, it looks like all the usual suspects are being included: JMicron eSATA and IDE, Silicon Image “hardware” SATA RAID, Realtek ALC888 HD audio and RTL8111 Gigabit Ethernet, although MSI does now include eight USB 2.0 ports in the rear I/O.

Give it six more months and you'll be seeing this as a final product in the flesh - we'll be sure to look back and see how it's changed during development. Are you excited by the prospects of Nehalem? Share your thoughts in the forums.

44 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
yakyb 30th May 2008, 16:35 Quote
ditch the legacy already (apart from PS2!!)
kenco_uk 30th May 2008, 16:38 Quote
Strange that, if the main chipset chip runs so much hotter, that there's not a crazy heatpipe configuration bolted on.. or even a fan.

And what's the deal with the heatsink in a box? Looks kooky, but if it's what to expect.. hmm!

Exciting though :)
Tim S 30th May 2008, 16:41 Quote
I'm pretty sure the blue box is the space they have to leave around the socket (for installing 3rd party heatsinks). It'll be Intel's minimum spec for free space around the socket.
Bindibadgi 30th May 2008, 16:41 Quote
Don't read into the cooling too much it's very much a "test board" - those DrMOS power phases need cooling too I'd think. :) It's a shame I couldn't see one fired up though :( apparently the CPUs are very, very scarce on a per-company basis and are in constant use.

It was surprised at the chipset too - but it makes sense given its size (it looked significantly bigger than P45 which is 65nm too) and the tons of super-fast frequency links it has to cope with.

Yea, the big blue block is the reference motherboard manuf. (and case etc) need to adhere to to leave completely free - so capacitors and other components don't get in the way.
Xtrafresh 30th May 2008, 16:47 Quote
clever thing that :)

It would be a nice stunt to get a hold of one of those and build a pico-ITX system inside of it :D
naokaji 30th May 2008, 16:57 Quote
big keepout area = good, no more trouble with big aftermarket coolers, wooot.

I dont get it why they dont want to drop the legacy crap though, I mean seriously, you cant even buy devices anymore that use them for several years now (talking consumer market here, servers are a different thing, but they get different mainboards as well so it doesnt matter).
wuyanxu 30th May 2008, 16:58 Quote
nice backplate :)

i hope Thermalright's Ultra 120 Extreme is just a bracket away from this new socket.
Fod 30th May 2008, 17:09 Quote
uh, triple channel memory? what's the deal with that?
Denis_iii 30th May 2008, 17:47 Quote
hmmm to get p35 and wolfdale now or wait till nehalem and x58 are affordable
TomH 30th May 2008, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fod
uh, triple channel memory? what's the deal with that?
2+1?

As for legacy ports, you'll always have some prat that doesn't want to sell his Parallel-based printer. At the end of the day, if it works well, then fair enough. But if it really does work that well then buy a cheap Parallel print server, OR spend a similar amount of money on a PCI/PCI-E Parallel card.

Fortunately (in most cases, though quite the opposite here) it doesn't matter if you're a tiny minority when you're complaining to companies. "Oh noes, angry users!" :(
phuzz 30th May 2008, 18:17 Quote
@Denis iii
buy now, wait until the second generations of Nehalem and motherboards come out and some of the issues have been ironed out.
Otherwise you'll end up stuck with another Socket 754 (the first gen of Athlon64's which were pretty soon superseded by 939), and trust me, that's annoying.
HourBeforeDawn 30th May 2008, 19:14 Quote
ya I agree with MSI, they should drop at least the floppy seeing how you can use USB floppy drives, I also think the ps2 ports should be dropped as well, I think IDE should probably stick around a little longer maybe just one of then even though I havent used it in a few years.
Nikumba 30th May 2008, 19:36 Quote
Ditch parallel, floppy, but keep PS2 ports
Multiplectic 30th May 2008, 19:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i hope Thermalright's Ultra 120 Extreme is just a bracket away from this new socket.

Me too. It would be a shame to ditch a perfectly capable HS because Intel changed the mounting holes' distance.

Tim, are you sure the mounting is different? :(
virtualrain 30th May 2008, 20:04 Quote
Great early look at the Nehalem platform!

They need a third color of DIMM slot for the third channel... Right now it looks like dual channel with three slots per channel rather than the other way around.

Also, aren't the extra 4x PCIe lanes in the X58 used for the link to the ICH10 SB? Traditionally, the DMI link from NB to SB is 4x PCIe... More info on Nehalem and X58 here... http://www.nehalemnews.com/2008/04/nehalem-faq.html
Vigilante 30th May 2008, 20:24 Quote
"MSI also includes six memory slots because the CPU has triple channel DDR3, and exclusively DDR3, so you’ll have to buy at least three DIMMs to make the most of the new upper-tier Intel platform."

I think you'll find that's because it is. Except It's not dual channel with three sticks, it's triple channel. It's the performance advantage DDR3 has been needing to ensure uptake, now if only it drops to semi-decent levels. It doesn't need to be awesomely cheap considering the performance advantage triple channel memory would have over dual channel, since enthusiasts would be more than willing to pay a price premium.
ssj12 30th May 2008, 20:34 Quote
Windows Vista doesnt have a floppy drive standard in the OS does it? If I remember it doesn't so drop it since even M$ dropped it.
Icy EyeG 30th May 2008, 20:44 Quote
This may be a bit retro, but triple channel can be a good thing for 32-bit Windows users, as you can put 3 Gb of RAM on the system, instead of 2 or 4 Gb.
bowman 30th May 2008, 21:59 Quote
32bit OS and Nehalem is like a black-and-white 1080p television.

Really, 64bit Vista is mature now. Time to let go.
wuyanxu 30th May 2008, 22:00 Quote
12GB here i come :)
TurtlePerson2 30th May 2008, 22:27 Quote
Ditch the legacy and include a PCI adapter that has legacy ports if needed.
p3n 31st May 2008, 02:18 Quote
woo triple channel fits perfectly for the dodgy memory limit in winxp (which we all know will be in use long into nehe :D)
Multiplectic 31st May 2008, 03:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
Really, 64bit Vista is mature now. Time to let go.

Uumm, yeah, right. Please, could we just don't go there?
Lazarus Dark 31st May 2008, 04:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtlePerson2
Ditch the legacy and include a PCI adapter that has legacy ports if needed.

I like that idea, I'm tired of legacy taking up space and efficiency, but all they need to do is include a legacy adapter.
Seriously, I don't even have any IDE drives left, haven't used floppy in six years and that was only for my laptop drivers, and while I keep a PS2 keyboard in the closet for emergencies, I haven't had any such emergency in five years. Move on people, I need more Sata ports.
culley 31st May 2008, 05:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomH
2+1?

As for legacy ports, you'll always have some prat that doesn't want to sell his Parallel-based printer. At the end of the day, if it works well, then fair enough. But if it really does work that well then buy a cheap Parallel print server, OR spend a similar amount of money on a PCI/PCI-E Parallel card.

You don't even need to buy that you can just buy a Parrel(DB-25) to USB cable that's what i got at work for all our HP lasterjet printers works a treat, they didn't cost much either we picked up about 40 of them.

Can't wait to see some benchmarks for this, can't wait for it!
Denis_iii 31st May 2008, 08:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
@Denis iii
buy now, wait until the second generations of Nehalem and motherboards come out and some of the issues have been ironed out.
Otherwise you'll end up stuck with another Socket 754 (the first gen of Athlon64's which were pretty soon superseded by 939), and trust me, that's annoying.

thanks, made me recall have then first first giant slot dual fan external cache athlon......times has certainly flown by
iwod 31st May 2008, 14:42 Quote
You have money to buy a NEW CPU, Three NEW DIMMs, NEW Heatsink, NEW Motherbroad...
And you still have component that needs legacy port like PS2, Parallel Port, and Floppy??
Why not replace them as well?
Bindibadgi 31st May 2008, 15:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwod
You have money to buy a NEW CPU, Three NEW DIMMs, NEW Heatsink, NEW Motherbroad...
And you still have component that needs legacy port like PS2, Parallel Port, and Floppy??
Why not replace them as well?

This was exactly MSI's and my arguments - however they have to listen to all their customers until there becomes a time when it's not economically viable or blindingly obvious that you dont need it anymore.
Adnoctum 31st May 2008, 16:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
ya I agree with MSI, they should drop at least the floppy seeing how you can use USB floppy drives, I also think the ps2 ports should be dropped as well, I think IDE should probably stick around a little longer maybe just one of then even though I havent used it in a few years.

I would normally agree with those who are calling for the death of floppy drives, indeed, my last two builds are happily floppy free.
BUT...
A friend of mine just wanted me to upgrade his computer with new HDD/DVD-RW etc. and an E4500 in his Asus P5V-VM mobo. Guess what? It needs a BIOS update.
No probs.
Whip out my old USB floppy. Nothing.
Make a CD. Nothing.
Well over an hour of mucking around and troubleshooting, I spend 15 minutes hunting up a floppy drive and cable (which I should have done in the first place).
Install floppy in system, and 3 minutes later I have a newly flashed BIOS and a happy mobo with an E4500 whirring away. 3 minutes!
These things shouldn't be so difficult, but until they are the floppy should stay.
Icy EyeG 31st May 2008, 17:32 Quote
I'm curious to see how the performance/power consumption ratio is going to be. I remember to upgrade my system, from Northwood P4 2.8 GHz to a E6600 Core 2 Duo and kept the same 420 Watts PSU (upgraded recently to a 480 Watts modular PSU). Needless to say that the performance difference was remarkable.

I wonder if it's going to happen something similar on my next system upgrade....
Multiplectic 31st May 2008, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
These things shouldn't be so difficult, but until they are the floppy should stay.

Well, lately ASUS BIOS' have an upgrade utility inside them, with the ability to recognize USB drives. Or you could do it from Windows itself. No need for floppies anymore. :)
Splynncryth 1st June 2008, 03:01 Quote
Concerning legacy, if you have PS/2 ports, you probably have everything else too because chances are, the OEM used a super IO chip which has a floppy control, serial ports, a parallel port, and PS/2 ports.
System firmware has gotten better all around for modern PC interfaces like USB, but ultimately, what goes onto a mainboard is the choice of the OEM.

You would not believe the sheer amount of stuff companies will still run under DOS, and this is where legacy becomes a huge hassle. DOS is a 16 bit OS based on old PC standards, and expects certain thing.
This little bit of code can be one of the most depressing to come across after hearing "this DOS program hangs the system":
Code:
in al,64h
and al,02h
jz $-7
Basically, the program is trying to check the location where a keyboard controller would normally be, and will loop forever until it gets a byte. No KB controller means it will never get that byte.
There are utilities that also deal with other old quirks of PC architecture that are no longer necessarily valid.

There are some alternative SIO parts that limit what they have on them, but IIRC, it's usually easier to get a standard desktop chip.
The add in card is a nice idea, and I have seen it done on reference boards, but there is no standard physical interface, and the software needed to set up the chip varies from chip to chip. So the lack of standards make that one tough unless the OEM is willing to do it on their own.
1st time modder 2nd June 2008, 08:02 Quote
looks to be an interesting future for nehalem and intel, hopefully this time around they will release non-synthetic benchmarks but based on real world performance. The thought of crysis utilizing all 8 cores and even windows vista, not to mention the sheer number crunching capabilities!
Hamish 2nd June 2008, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st time modder
looks to be an interesting future for nehalem and intel, hopefully this time around they will release non-synthetic benchmarks but based on real world performance. The thought of crysis utilizing all 8 cores and even windows vista, not to mention the sheer number crunching capabilities!

crysis cant/wont even utilise 4 fully, 8 cores is going to be so terribly terribly redundant for desktop use for a good while to come imo
i've not found anything outside of video encoding that will peg my q9450 at 100%
and dvdshrink is now limited by disk i/o rather than cpu
naokaji 2nd June 2008, 15:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish
crysis cant/wont even utilise 4 fully, 8 cores is going to be so terribly terribly redundant for desktop use for a good while to come imo
i've not found anything outside of video encoding that will peg my q9450 at 100%
and dvdshrink is now limited by disk i/o rather than cpu

hehe yep, only thing that can stop intel in the desktop market is software not making use of all the fancy new stuff
HatriX 3rd June 2008, 00:32 Quote
Heh, nice one. Not going to change my mind on getting a Q6600 based system though.
And about the ports.. they should leave only one PS/2 - for the keyboard, and maybe a floppy. I mean c'mon, parallel port? What the hell for? Even my 1999 black and white (!) laser printer uses USB.
Saivert 3rd June 2008, 05:11 Quote
As for legacy I don't get the PS/2 craze. I use a USB keyboard, and most of you are already using USB mice.

MSI is already doing EFI and I hope they will put EFI on a Nehalem based motherboard as well.

Time to bring the PC up to date once and for all. Just look at the Apple Mac hardware now which is basically a PC with no legacy components.
wuyanxu 3rd June 2008, 10:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saivert
As for legacy I don't get the PS/2 craze. I use a USB keyboard, and most of you are already using USB mice.

i strongly advice strictly buy PS2 keyboards.

USB keyboard and mouse will NOT work with system startup shortcuts that you set in the BIOS. a friend of mine wanted to use keyboard shortcuts to start up, but no, the Asus board requires PS2 keyboard to be able to use that feature.

USB isn't amazing, when you get to program with it, you'll find out it's pros and cons. this is why most embedded system programmer still wants legacy RS232 support.

speaking of embedded systems. they have those single PS2 socket to mouse+keyboard PS2 adaptors, why don't manufactures use this? so 1 PS2 will support both keyboard and mouse at the same time, and have the space for 2 USB sockets.
Dublin_Gunner 3rd June 2008, 12:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
This may be a bit retro, but triple channel can be a good thing for 32-bit Windows users, as you can put 3 Gb of RAM on the system, instead of 2 or 4 Gb.
eh, 2x1GB + 2x512MB = 3GB dual channel ;)

But seriously, PS2 for a mouse has had its day, and for pretty much every other peripheral out there, legacy connection have run thei course.

The only thing I would like to se kept is the PS2 keyboard connection, as was stated by others.

I can even remember the last time I had a PS2 mouse.......
Splynncryth 4th June 2008, 03:00 Quote
Why the attachment to PS/2? All the stuff that it can do can be done with other interfaces just fine. If you have problems with a specific feature from a company like Asus not working, that's not the falt of the interface, it's that the manufacturer does not have the robust software support you as a customer need.
Quote:

USB isn't amazing, when you get to program with it, you'll find out it's pros and cons. this is why most embedded system programmer still wants legacy RS232 support.

I'm curious as to your experience with USB in embedded systems. My experience is that a solid software stack is needed. But if you are dealing with severely limited firmware storage space and memory, then I can see the appeal of legacy ports.

Did MSI have it running? The photos seem to indicate that they didn't have it running. I was curious as to what they would run for bios, regular or EFI.
Hydron 4th June 2008, 03:14 Quote
Just to add my own 2c about the legacy ports debate:
Floppy port:
I use a floppy drive once in a while, mainly for running HDD diagnostic tools on bootable floppy disks, but also for BIOS updates. I could probably get around this if needed, as long as the BIOS let you use a standard usb stick for its update. The port also uses a lot of mobo real estate.
PS/2 ports:
I use a PS/2 keyboard from 1989 (IBM Model M), and I see no attraction for moving to USB keyboards - I've still yet to see one made as well as my almost 20 year old IBM. Mice are a different story - they have certainly got better over time, and anything worth using has been for a few years. Solution? use the mouse port space for 2 USB ports, keep the keyboard - I believe ASUS or someone does this already.
Serial/parallel ports:
I use these a LOT, being an electrical engineer who fools about with microcontrollers. The parallel port is very usefull for programming microcontrollers on a budget, and the serial ports I use for talking to said microcontrollers and also to interface IR recievers. USB converters are never as good as a proper port, and simply dont work sometimes in these applications - the move towards killing these off (and the fact I can't get more than one onboard serial) is a big problem for me when choosing a motherboard, and I'll probably end up needing to buy add-on cards in the future and waste precious PCI slots. The headers for these ports are even disappearing from boards which dont have them on the I/O panel - this SUCKS.
GS-059 4th June 2008, 06:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
I would normally agree with those who are calling for the death of floppy drives, indeed, my last two builds are happily floppy free.
BUT...
A friend of mine just wanted me to upgrade his computer with new HDD/DVD-RW etc. and an E4500 in his Asus P5V-VM mobo. Guess what? It needs a BIOS update.
No probs.
Whip out my old USB floppy. Nothing.
Make a CD. Nothing.
Well over an hour of mucking around and troubleshooting, I spend 15 minutes hunting up a floppy drive and cable (which I should have done in the first place).
Install floppy in system, and 3 minutes later I have a newly flashed BIOS and a happy mobo with an E4500 whirring away. 3 minutes!
These things shouldn't be so difficult, but until they are the floppy should stay.

If MSI makes it so you can flash over usb, you do not need an internal floppy, just because Asus needs it does not mean MSI does. It is not like you need the MSI board to have a floppy drive to flash the Asus bios...
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
ditch the legacy already (apart from PS2!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtlePerson2
Ditch the legacy and include a PCI adapter that has legacy ports if needed.
I could say that is a waist of room if you wanted to use pci for other things and they have little 1.5" converter things that go from ps/2 to usb, but the adapter takes up room on the outside of the case and could fall out. if pci card is not included with the mobo, it is still pretty cheep to get some adapters.

For memory, I would really like to see how much better TDR is to DDR, or even if is really going to be TDR.

Someone else said that having two colors is confusing and not shows the channels very well. I know some boards have colors for channels and some just have them separated, this board that is shown has the sticks separated and the channels color coded, so red could be the first set is red and you put three dimms in it. And if you want to use the second channel, you put three into blue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwod
You have money to buy a NEW CPU, Three NEW DIMMs, NEW Heatsink, NEW Motherbroad...
And you still have component that needs legacy port like PS2, Parallel Port, and Floppy??
Why not replace them as well?
they are pretty cheep by comparison...
Why do you have to worry about so many legacy devices when almost no one uses them any more. Even my cd drive that I bought recently had a cd as drivers... I thought it odd, but it still worked. I would much rather have a better system than have to worry about my 20 year-old keyboard when I can just go buy an adapter for <$7.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
Strange that, if the main chipset chip runs so much hotter, that there's not a crazy heatpipe configuration bolted on.. or even a fan.

the real thing comes out later and I am expecting it to be a 45, I think that the 65 is just just a test to show what they can do atm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman
32bit OS and Nehalem is like a black-and-white 1080p television.

Really, 64bit Vista is mature now. Time to let go.

I just love this post... although I am still with xp atm...
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
hehe yep, only thing that can stop Intel in the desktop market is software not making use of all the fancy new stuff

that is the only bad part about new tech is that some times software cannot fully use it. our os's have been years ahead of their time as far as hardware is concerned, but it seems like this time, the next os is going to be late for the hardware upgrade...(I hope!!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Dark
I like that idea, I'm tired of legacy taking up space and efficiency, but all they need to do is include a legacy adapter.
Seriously, I don't even have any IDE drives left, haven't used floppy in six years and that was only for my laptop drivers, and while I keep a PS2 keyboard in the closet for emergencies, I haven't had any such emergency in five years. Move on people, I need more Sata ports.

the only thing I disagree with is the IDE drives, I still have a few that have backups from a while ago. I do like the idea of having more sata drives, but IDE drives are still used a lot today.
wuyanxu 4th June 2008, 10:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splynncryth
I'm curious as to your experience with USB in embedded systems. My experience is that a solid software stack is needed. But if you are dealing with severely limited firmware storage space and memory, then I can see the appeal of legacy ports.

i did a small data transferring system from EERPOM to the PC using AVR's. it wasn't so hard with a USB controller, but the USB controller takes a lot of space on my PCB, and doesn't always work. whereas RS232 always works

i seriously don't understand why people so hate legacy stuff, it's not like they will kill you if you keep it.
Splynncryth 4th June 2008, 21:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i seriously don't understand why people so hate legacy stuff, it's not like they will kill you if you keep it.

For me, in my line of work, (EFI engineer) legacy implies DOS support. The problem is that we do a LOT of tricks to make the system work beyond legacy. As a result, we overflow into a lot of other system areas. For example, BIOS was originally limited to the F000 segment because 64K should be enough right? Nope, and some time ago, BIOS was allowed to spill over to E000 too. But this didn't happen before we got the EMM specification.

I've seen behavior where an EMM program will blindly assume that if a certain range of addresses in e000 are uninitialized, then e000 is not in use. But, at least on stuff I've worked on, we lock e000. So the system will crash.

So my major beef with legacy is that it means there is the assumption that everything will work fine with a 15 year old program when in reality, the new stuff and the old stuff are in conflict.
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