Intel will offer a choice of nine processors
when it launches the 45nm Penryn family in November this year. From the line up there will be five dual-core "Wolfdale" CPUs at speeds 3.16GHz, 3.0GHz, 2.83GHz and 2.66GHz and four quad-core "Yorkfield" processors at 2.83GHz, 2.66GHz and 2.5GHz.
The rest of the speeds are as yet unknown and is probably a sign of Intel holding back to see how much grip AMD's quad-core Barcelona will have on the market when it arrives.
Intel is going to start using 0.5x multipliers again to open up more speed options, given that all the CPUs will have the 1333MHz front side bus making the difference between whole multiplier core speeds quite large. This will also mean at least a BIOS update for existing motherboards in order to make them compatible with the new chips.
Interesting also is that Intel is so confident in the 45nm process that it's suggesting clock speeds of up to 4GHz. The "fastest" CPU Intel ever produced was the mammoth 115W 3.8GHz 90nm dual-core Pentium D 670, with the 4GHz 680 never actually seeing the life of day. 4GHz should
result in a killer CPU on the performance from, especially given that Penryn is tipped to be even faster than Conroe. Of course, there's also the fact that the reduced current leakage as a result of moving to the 45nm should mean it'll be fairly cool-running too.
However, before we speculate too much on that front, we'll wait until some more solid information comes out of the grape vine.
The Wolfdale chips are natively dual-core and feature a 6MB shared L2 cache, which is up from the 4MB shared L2 on the current Conroe processors. Yorkfield is just an evolution of the Kentsfield package with two dual-core Wolfdale dies on a single CPU package, meaning four cores and a massive of 12MB L2 cache. It won't be until Nehalem arrives that we will finally get a native quad-core product from Intel.
There is no word on prices yet as we're still a few months off, but we're hoping it'll at least drop the prices of current Intel 65nm CPUs so we'll get another "Q6600 G0" situation.
Looking forward to Penryn (the CPU, not the Cornish Village) or are you still pining for a holiday in Barcelona? Let us know your future digital travels in the forums