Intel reveals more details of its six-core Westmere chip

Intel reveals more details of its six-core Westmere chip

Summary: No sooner had I posted a story on upcoming six-core processors than Intel held a press conference to discuss its Westmere six-core chip. Here are some new details Intel has confirmed.

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No sooner had I posted a story on upcoming six-core processors than Intel held a press conference to discuss its Westmere six-core processor--among other products--in more detail. The purpose of the briefing was to preview the papers that Intel will present at a major semiconductor conference, known as ISSCC 2010, which takes place next week in San Francisco.

Here are some additional details on the six-core chip that Intel has confirmed:

The six-core version of Westmere will be available in both desktop (Gulftown) and dual-socket server versions. Not surprisingly, it shares a lot of the same features with the dual-core Core i3 and Core i5 Westmeres including Hyper-Threading (12 threads for a six-core chip), Turbo Boost for improved performance on tasks that are not multi-threaded, an integrated memory controller, and features designed to make it more power-efficient.

But there are some differences too. Gulftown does not have a graphics controller in the same package, which makes sense given that it is designed for enthusiast desktops and will be paired with discrete graphics. It also has a larger data cache--a total of 12MB of L3 compared with 4MB on the dual-core versions--which when combined with the extra cores results in a chip that is larger and contains 1.17 billion transistors. Intel said it uses some of those extra transistors to speed up tasks such as data encryption and decryption.

Here's how the six-core chip will look in a dual-socket server, meaning one that uses two of these processors:

And here's a slide showing how the actual chip compares to the dual-core version currently available in mainstream laptops and desktops:

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Networking

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4 comments
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  • Ok.

    six-core ... we are in the future
    6 nucleos ... estamos en el futuro
    bdlnrtz
  • RE: Intel reveals more details of its six-core Westmere chip

    so they're going to call this core i9? just to confuse everyone? maybe core i1?

    call me crazy but, why do we need this many cores in anything less than a cloud server? or maybe that's the reason they're making it . . .
    cjc82s
    • your right

      I think the popularity of netbooks was brought
      about partially by people realizing our modern
      computers are much faster than we need. Since
      the beginning of the GUI, CPUs need to be
      faster and faster to power the prettier GUI,
      all of a sudden OS designers.. (ok...
      microsoft) can't find enough to put into it
      (that people remotely want) that requires more
      CPU. People are still using XP! Generation wise
      thats the equivalent of using 3.1 after '98
      came out, but there just isn't as much
      difference anymore. I think we'll see a move to
      NUI (natural user interfaces) in a few years
      that will start to require more computing
      power, but I think a limiting factor here is
      that the highest demand for NUI is in smaller
      form factors like laptops and netbooks where
      battery power is also an issue. But I think
      we're stalled, at least for portable computing.
      Of course there will continue to be advances in
      efficiency and design (which I think the
      industry reeealy needed)

      However, for many applications such as gaming
      and even more so production suites (3d
      rendering, photoshop etc) multicore is a HUGE
      advantage that I think many will be willing to
      pay for. Of course the reduced demand will
      drive up prices and possibly stagnate
      development a little, but just because it's
      multicore does not mean all the cores are as
      powerful. A dual-core atom does not compare to
      a core2 duo even remotely in speed, but a CPU
      of many small cores shows many advantages over
      a few large cores. For example GPUs consist of
      hundreds of "cores" these cores are hardly big
      enough to call cores, but the idea is similar,
      allowing many computations to take place at
      once, however one of these "cores" is very
      limited in it's function. So while intel is
      increasing the cores of it's x86 processor
      nVidia is increasing the functionality of its
      "cores" and they may collide int he middle
      sometime in the next some years.

      (I would use a six core processor for many
      hobbies of mine)
      shadfurman
  • RE: Intel reveals more details of its six-core Westmere chip

    Maybe the cores should be laid out in a circular pattern in order to reduce propagation delay, similar to what Cray did with their supercomputers?
    fiosdave