At IDF this week Intel has lifted the lid on "Ibex Peak" and shown us how the motherboard's IO and northbridge functionality can be pulled together into a single chip.
The first batch of Core i7 "Nehalem" CPUs will make use of the X58 "Tylersburg" chipset which hooks up the QuickBus path on the CPU to the ICH-10 southbridge. "Ibex Path" changes that and eliminates the ICH series southbridge altogether, bringing that fucntionality (PCI, USB, Ethernet) and the display controller currently present on the X58 onto the same piece of silicon. On top of that, Intel has added remote access functionality onto "Ibex Path." This technology will debut in 2009.
"Ibex Path" will complement the "Havendale" (desktop) and "Auburndale" (mobile) CPUs in that these will be the first to feature both integrated graphics and integrated memory controller. Power saving will be aided by the ability to switch between the integrated GPU and more power-thirsty external GPU.
Note: The "Lynnfield" (desktop) and "Clarksfield" (mobile) CPUs will not feature an integrated GPU but will support dual grpahics cards in both SLI or Crossfire configuration, pleasing both ATI and NVIDIA fans.
Pretty exciting times ahead.