IDF Fall 2007 Update (Part 1)

Nehalem Is More Than PHENOMenal

Nehalem Is More Than PHENOMenal

2008 will be the year when Intel launches a completely revamped processor microarchitecture codenamed Nehalem. There has been a lot of rumors about the Nehalem on the web but Intel has not revealed much about its architecture until today.

What we do know is that it will be built on their 45nm process technology and it will come in either two, four or eight core processors. Intel did not reveal whether their octo-core processors would be based on a single die design as Intel executives were not consistent in their replies to questions whether the chip would be native octo-core.

Intel will also re-introduce some form of Hyper Threading in Nehalem, doubling each core's processing threads to two. Therefore, an eight core processor will contain 16 execution threads. Simultaneous multi threading will improve the efficiency of each core and it's expected to further push the performance envelope.

However, the most significant technological improvement on Nehalem would be its integrated memory controller and QuickPath Interconnect technology. On the memory front, Intel will place a three channel memory controller in the CPU, giving it a much larger memory bandwidth and much lower latencies. The chip will also be capable of handling either buffered (on workstations or servers) or unbuffered (on desktop clients) memory.

The Intel QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) technology is very much like HyperTransport, where it's used to connect the processors together in multi-processors configuration, as well as connecting to the I/O hub. However, unlike HyperTransport, QPI was designed to deliver very high bandwidths, much higher than what HyperTransport is currently delivering (according to Intel).

 Pat Gelsinger, senior vice-president and general manager Digital Enterprise Group, and Jim Brayton, Intel Nehalem project manager, with the next generation "Nehalem" product wafer.

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