Intel's Nehalem processor: Biggest leap since the Pentium Pro

Intel's Nehalem processor: Biggest leap since the Pentium Pro

Summary: At a press gathering this morning, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, revealed details about a next generation processor, Nehalem, which brings an entirely new microarchitecture (and motherboards), and will include onboard memory and graphics controllers. Nehalem-based desktop, server and mobile processors and systems are slated to be available in 2008.

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TOPICS: Processors
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At a press gathering this morning, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, revealed details about a next generation processor, Nehalem, which brings an entirely new microarchitecture (and motherboards), and will include onboard memory and graphics controllers.

Nehalem-based desktop, server and mobile processors and systems are slated to be available in 2008. The Nehalem effort is part of Intel's strategy to step up its chip cadence.

"The new systems architecture is a major shift is system architecture, and a stunning value proposition," Gelsinger beamed. "It's the biggest leap since the Pentium Pro [which reached the market in 1996]." It's also a big shift for those who create memory and graphic controllers, such as AMD, which just acquired ATI. 

"We will integrate the memory controller on the die, with both a buffered and native version," Gelsinger explained.  For many years, AMD's claim to fame has been its integrated memory controller, which helps to reduce latency. "We have the best memory hierarchy on planet today," Gelsinger said in response to a question about AMD's HyperTransport processor design approach. "The best cache is more important than an integrated memory controller, which is why Intel wins on benchmarks."

 

On a technical front, each core utilizes two threads and the chips are designed specifically for the 45-nanometer process, unlike the Penryn family due later this year that was a bridge between 65 and 45 nanometer. Nehalem designs are underway with eight cores, and two thread each, Gelsinger said, and the processors will exist in the same thermal envelope as previous generations. 

For software developers, Gelsinger said, "Nehalem system server applications are very throughput-oriented already and will take full advantage of the simultaneous multithreading. On client systems, we have been on a multithreaded focus since 2000, when we launched hyperthreading. Now we are reaping the benefits and seeing good parallelism in games, media and even in things like Microsoft Office 2007, but it is still heavy lifting to move the software community together to take advantage of threading." 

Gelsinger also outlined the Penryn family of processors, due in the second half of this year, that are based on the 45-nanometer Hi-k process technology and high-k + metal gate transistor design. In plain English, the Penryn family, which will include six processors (dual and quad core Core and Xeon systems for server, desktop and mobile) means chips that are faster and more energy efficient.

The 45-nanometer processors will have 820 million transistors, and the dual core die size will be 25 percent smaller than the 65-nanometer equivalent.

Topic: Processors

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34 comments
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  • Man, Intel just keeps dumping on AMD

    Glad I don't have any AMD stock...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • It is sad

      Intel sat on their backsides for so long.

      AMD comes along and starts taking large chunks of their market share.

      Then they decide to get their hind ends in gear.

      Intel would probably just now be rolling out a Pentium 4 1.5 GHz processor if it wasn't for AMD's competition. May AMD live long and keep the Intel slackers in check.
      dragosani
      • I agree

        The question is if AMD can hang on though.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • yes, but will they.

          They drop prices to keep market share, cutting their profits significantly. that can only be a temporary fix, at best. it's not sustainable...

          they need to get their truly competitive edge on once again... and the question isn't if they have the talent. the question is whether they're willing to take a short-term loss to bring in a heavy cannon. (sort of like how Intel set up the team for the Core microarchitecture while they still had another team working on the P4 line...)
          shryko
      • Ya. Right.

        Look, there is not a thing wrong with AMD in general, there never has been. They have always managed to produce a CPU that had some competitive ability in some way, price or performance. And we all know there was quite a stretch where AMD was wining every benchmark in town. And that was great. But it does get very very tired listening to AMD enthusiasts who have to find something to make AMD still sound better then Intel now that Intel is the CPU kicking butt. To say:

        "May AMD live long and keep the Intel slackers in check." Is ludicrous. You are actually selling AMD short. Very short. A post like that is directly saying that Intel could have always kicked AMD's butt if they just put out a little effort. I doubt it. Maybe Intel could have done better at times, who knows, but one thing is for sure, they didn't get beat for so long because they were slackers. Thats insane. Intel lost alot of market share to AMD and were on the verge of beginning to lose even more significantly, no company in their right mind would simply 'let' that happen. AMD was beating Intel because they were coming up with the better CPU and Intel's best efforts were not as good.

        Now Intel has released the product they were spending that time on and its whomping AMD's behind, so just accept the fact that at least for the foreseeable future the shoe is on the other foot. I don't think that if AMD is still getting kicked by Intel a year from now your going to be saying its only because of those AMD slackers. I have no doubt both companies want to make as much money as they can and are putting in the effort. Sure, sometimes the decisions they make may not work for the best for a period of time and other times they may hit the jackpot but to say that either company is asleep at the wheel is nonsense.
        Cayble
    • You would know

      You're neck should hurt based on the amount poo that has been dumped on your head as a result of your trolling on ZDNet.

      You should get a shampoo or wax company to sponsor you.
      ibabadur1
      • WOW, what an insightful and well articulated post.

        COme on, fes sup. Mommy did your home work didn't she...
        No_Ax_to_Grind
    • You can bet AMD isn't resting on its laurels

      Yeah, and I'm willing to bet that AMD isn't going to stay still - I'm sure they're hard at work with an answer to Intel's processors.
      CobraA1
      • I agree, but can they do it?

        I agree AMD is surely loosing a lot of sleep given how they are being handed their lunch lately. But from what I see they are having a lot of problems getting to 65 nm while Intel is going full bore at 45 nm.

        Doesn't bode well for their future.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • In desktop processors, perhaps

          But I think AMD is diversified enough that they won't be going out of business or anything. Certainly their ATI division isn't going to drop off the planet anytime soon.
          Michael Kelly
  • Yet another vaporware 'release'...

    Intel is yet again trying to freeze the market in anticipation of losing more market share in the 4 socket market. Octal core? They keep giving us more cores, but keep taking a speed hit to do it. Thanks for continually slowing down our single threaded processes.

    I'm tired of Intel constantly re-inventing their architecture (old core architectures become "Core Duo"), duct-taping cores into a single package, or having to create massive CPU caches to eliminate bus contention. Wake me up when CSI becomes a reality.
    Uber Dweeb
    • Not hardly...

      In case you haven't heard, Intel's Dual Core and Quad Core CPUs are kicking everyones backside in the x86 market.

      Hmmm, didn't you call their Dual Core vaporware too??? Right up until they came out and kicked butt with it...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • "Hmmm, didn't you call their Dual Core vaporware too???"

        No.

        ...and virtualization on AMD kicks Intel's butt.
        Uber Dweeb
    • "Another"??

      One thing Intel has done consistently is deliver the processors it has announced. Do you actually understand what the term "vaporware" means?
      -Kestrel-
      • Really?

        Where are you buying your Nehalem processors right now? Do you trust that Intel won't make any changes to the product before it's released?

        Intel's making a concerted effort to try and hold back new purchases of AMD server processors, which are still taking market share away from Intel, and have people sitting on the fence for something that [i]may[/i] arrive in the future. Intel is selling a concept in this article, not a product. This is Intel's SOP of trying to freeze the market until their new product is ready.
        Uber Dweeb
    • We should buy the vastly inferior AMD CPU I guess

      What a sour puss you are. You are talking like one of these jokers who are fully ready to cut their own nose off just to spite their own face. It doesn't matter if Intel's current CPU's are made out of bubble gum and toothpaste. They are better then the AMD's so that doesn't say much at all for AMD by your reckoning. You have pretty much established that in your opinion Intel is so good they can just duct tape some stuff together and whip AMD's ass. What does that say about AMD.

      Chill out.
      Cayble
      • Where are your benchmarks?

        I guess you believe everything that Intel is spoon feeding you. Look at the details of those benchmarks. You are also comparing desktop processors to server architecture. They aren't the same and AMD still holds the lead in real world price/performance/watt server computing.

        You propably thought NetBurst was a great idea, too.
        Uber Dweeb
  • Intel Doublethink

    "The best cache is more important than an integrated memory controller, which is why Intel wins on benchmarks."

    Pat Gelsinger
    Senior Vice President and General Manager
    Intel's Digital Enterprise Group

    So what is Intel's next step? A better cache? No. An integrated memory controller!

    Huh?

    Yes, the Nehalem processor's claim to fame is an integrated memory controller.

    So does Nehalem's integrated memory controller make Nehalem a better processor?

    No, an integrated memory controller doesn't matter.

    So what makes Nehalem a better processor?

    An integrated memory controller.

    Okay, now I get it, Pat. Thanks for explaining the value of an integrated memory controller.

    You're welcome, but integrated memory controllers don't matter.
    meh1309
    • You missed this...?

      Intel HAS the best cache, adding the integrated memory controller only makes it better. If AMD means to keep up then they now have to develop a better cache of their own.
      SanityClause
      • Intel's cache is bigger, not "better".

        ...because it has to be. Having to fetch data from memory on a bus based system is a performance killer.
        Uber Dweeb