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Intel Penryn and Nehalem New Details
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by Rob Williams on March 28, 2007 in Intel Processors

Intel today unveiled new information regarding their upcoming Penryn and Nehalem lineup. We are taking a look at what was discussed, including ballpark performance increase figures, benefits of the SSE4 instruction set and additional facts about their integrated memory controller and graphics processor.

Nehalem & Final Thoughts


While Penryn is a straight derivative of Core, Nehalem is a new architecture completely, built from the ground up. Compared to Penryn, it will share many of the same capabilities, but offers far more scalability. First is the fact that it will include simultaneous multi-threading, similar to Hyper-Threading, which promises to enhance performance and energy efficiency.

Nehalem will also offer better memory bandwidth, although Intel stresses the fact that more cache will always outweigh the benefits of additional memory bandwidth. How exactly will they offer better memory bandwidth? You guessed it… integrated memory controller, similar to what’s found in all AMD processors. It doesn’t stop there though, as Intel elaborated on the fact that integrated graphic processors is another step.

The scalability part comes into play because they will be able to release different CPUs for different purposes. One CPU might have 2 cores, an IMC and a graphics processor, while another might have 4 cores, an IMC and no graphics processor. It was not mentioned just how much stuff could be put into a single CPU, but chances are if there is a graphics processor and ICM included, it would lower the ability to throw in many cores.

Going with the multi-core theme, it was mentioned that current Nehalem samples have been developed that feature 8-cores, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. More cores are a definite possibility, but no solid information was given towards the possibility of seeing 8+ cores anytime soon. Given the fact that Intel recently produced an 80-core mammoth, I doubt thinking beyond 8-Cores for Nehalem is a foolish thing to ponder.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to todays presentation, we have a far greater idea of what to expect from both Penryn and Nehalem. In recent weeks we’ve been told by AMD that Barcelona will be serious competition for the Core microarchitecture, but with all of this new information today, it seems that Barcelona might be pushed to second place again shortly after it’s launch. That is, if Penryn and Nehalem live up to their promises. After Core, it would be difficult to not expect amazing things from both of these upcoming microarchitectures.

If there is anything Penryn and Nehalem want to deliver, it’s better efficiency all around. As you can see from todays article, everything about these new CPUs will offer improvements over anything on the market today. It doesn’t matter if you are a gamer, coder, media guru or run servers, Penryn and Nehalem should offer substantially better efficiency worth being excited over. Despite all we’ve learned today, Intel still has new information up their sleeve that they did not want to disclose. Instead, we will learn all about that at next months IDF, which takes place in Beijing. Techgage won’t be there, but we will be sure to pass along all the new updates to you.

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1. Introduction
2. Nehalem & Final Thoughts