Nehalem derivatives detailed

Written by Tim Smalley

August 19, 2008 // 11:48 p.m.

Tags: #architecture #derivatives #idf-fall-2008 #models #nehalem #processors

When Intel first announced Nehalem back at IDF Fall 2007, Paul Otellini revealed that there would be two, four and eight-core products based on the new Nehalem architecture; this afternoon, Pat Gelsinger delved down into the various different models during his keynote.

There was a huge focus on Nehalem during Pat’s keynote and it’s clear that he’s very excited about what the team of architects has achieved.

The high-end desktop products, which were formally named the Core i7 range just a week ago will all be quad-core processors.

The server and workstation markets will initially be covered by the Nehalem-EP processor, which is designed for dual-socket platforms and will be quad-core based. Later on, Intel will introduce Nehalem-EX for quad-socket platforms – this will be the company’s first octo-core processor and Pat Gelsinger showed off some of the first Nehalem-EX silicon to come back from the fab.

Moving down into the mainstream, Pat said that there would be two different mainstream processor designs—Lynnfield and Havendale—but neither have been given an official brand name yet. Both are likely to be dual-core processors, although some rumours suggest Lynnfield is a quad-core. Havendale is likely to feature integrated graphics, while more than likely Lynnfield won’t – this wasn’t something that Gelsinger talked about openly, though.

To cater for the thin and light notebook segment, there will be another two processor designs—namely Clarksfield and Auburndale—and we’re under the impression that these will follow the same path as Lynnfield and Havendale, in that one will feature integrated graphics and the other won’t.

Based on what Gelsinger disclosed, it looks like the mainstream processors will cover both notebook and desktop platforms – it’s been clear for a while that Intel’s focus has been on mobility and the fact that processor shipments for notebooks are projected to overtake desktop processor shipments in the 2009-to-2010 timeframe makes it a wise choice to use the same processors in both desktops and larger notebooks.

Clock speeds haven’t really been discussed so far, although Intel did show a demo of Lost Planet: Colonies running side-by-side on both a Nehalem and a Penryn processor, each clocked at 3.2GHz. In terms of performance in the demo showed, the Nehalem-based system was around 50-to-80 percent faster, but the question is whether or not this is a final clock speed for Intel’s Core i7 ‘Extreme Edition’ processor. That's unclear at the moment – I guess only time will tell, but we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground ahead of any official announcement from Intel.

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