Sunday, January 11, 2009

Intel Core i7- Updates

Actually, this news was a bit late na. But I'm sure this will interest techie fans out there.

Sat Nov 1, 2008 3:01AM EDT

At long last, Intel is set to roll out its latest update to the Core line of CPUs, and it's a big one. Called Core i7, it officially arrives this month, but a final, official date has still not been set. (Most have speculated that November 17 is the arrival date, but I've seen reports that it will officially be out before next weekend.) You will, however start seeing official reviews of i7-based systems starting tomorrow, so the time is nigh.

Here's the essential scoop on Core i7.

Formerly known by the code-name Nehalem (often misspelled Nahalem), this is a major upgrade to the Core 2 family of CPUs which have been the performance leader and standard-issue components on desktops and laptops since 2006. i7 will initially be available only on desktop PCs, though. Server and laptop versions are still in the works.

Architecturally, the new chip is said to mark the biggest single-cycle change since 1995's Pentium Pro. It's easy to see why: It's packed with loads of new features and looks to dust anything else on the market in performance. For example: The frontside bus (long a bottleneck in CPU design) no longer exists; it's replaced by Intel QuickPath, which now connects the CPU to I/O processing functions. I/O performance under this design should be improved by up to a whopping 10 times.

The first models are all quad-core designs, but i7 allows for up to eight cores on a chip. Those designs are likely to come in 2009. With all designs, all the cores and controllers are on a single die, unlike some earlier multicore CPUs.

Memory controller features are expanded, with support for DIMM slots in sets of three instead of two: Expect 3GB and 6GB RAM options to be the common alternatives.

Hyper-threading, a technology innovated back in the Pentium 4 era, is back. Theoretically it allows for more effective multitasking, though with such gargantuan power on the die, it will be hard to quantify what difference the return of Hyper-threading makes without some fancy benchmarkin'.

While I rarely review desktop PCs, I'm definitely looking forward to getting the first i7-based laptop on my desk. No ETA on those bad boys, alas. Stay tuned.


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