Earlier this week, we posted an article that took a look at Intel’s current CPU roadmap, which included desktop, mobile and server products. In case you haven’t taken the time to look through, I recommend you do, since there are some extremely interesting products in the pipeline. This includes the launch of the Dual-Core Westmere chips later this year, which will feature both a CPU and GPU on the same substrate.
One area of confusion hovered around Gulftown, though, a Hexa-Core enthusiast chip that offers up 12 threads of operation. The question was how such a chip would be built, because six is an odd number where cores are concerned. Not to mention that Core i7 featured a native Quad-Core design. It would no doubt be an odd choice to backtrack and release Gulftown with a similar design as Core 2 Quad, which were two Dual-Core dies set next to each other.
The reason for concern was due to the fact that Westmere lacks certain features that Core i7 can boast about, such as a QPI bus and also a triple-channel memory controller. After discussing the design with Intel though, we found out that similar to Dunnington, Gulftown will feature a similar design as Core i7, but will just be using Westmere cores at the base, rather than Nehalem cores. Simple explanation, really.
One of the biggest reasons to look forward to Gulftown is the fact that it’s still compatible with the X58 chipset, which is a rather unique thing to see happen. Deep down though, the chip will include a similar design, so a BIOS update for your X58 motherboard should be able to fix whatever needs fixing. As discussed in our article discussion thread though, when Gulftown gets released, USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s will be available (or should be), and those two will be difficult to ignore.