Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

Summary: At IDF, the chipmaker announced a power-control feature in its new micro architecture, claiming it is 'pretty compelling' for enterprises.

Intel unveiled on Tuesday a new aspect of its upcoming microprocessor architecture, which promises better power management and efficiency.

Speaking in the afternoon keynote on day one of the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Pat Gelsinger, Intel's senior vice president and general manager of the digital enterprise group, showcased Nehalem EX for the expandable server market, consisting of eight-core processors on a single die. He then announced a power-gate feature incorporating a "turbo mode"--a "previously undiscussed" element--for the Nehalem family of processors.

Nehalem fulfils the 45nm (nanometer) 'tock' of the chip giant's 'tick-tock' strategy, which aims to shrink processor size with a new manufacturing process in odd years, and roll out new processor architectures in even years.

When invited on stage by Gelsinger, Rajesh Kumar, Intel fellow and director for circuit and low-power technologies, explained that the new power-management capability included "innovative sensors" and a power-control unit that has a micro-controller that "only works on power".

IDF Videos:

The power gate can shut off both switching power when idle and leakage power, Kumar said at a separate Nehalem briefing. With the turbo mode, in a situation where not all the cores are necessary for a particular workload, the ones that are idle will be turned off and power is channeled to the cores that are active, making them more efficient.

At a media session later in the day, Gelsinger acknowledged the turbo mode had been talked about for Penryn, but said, with power gate, the turbo mode provided "much higher capabilities" and "greater headroom in a more thermally-constrained environment".

The power-gate and turbo-mode technology, Gelsinger told ZDNet Asia, makes a "pretty compelling feature" for enterprises. It benefits a spectrum of users, from mobile workers on laptops enjoying improved battery life to datacenter administrators reaping "substantial power savings".

"Power is a large factor [in total cost of ownership]; depending on where you are in the world, it may be 10 to 30 percent of your datacenter bill," Gelsinger said. "This will allow IT users to significantly optimize their power load into their datacenters of the future, so IT customers will look at this as a very attractive feature."

The first Nehalem processors, noted Gelsinger, will be for high-end desktops, followed by servers. They will start shipping from the fourth quarter of this year.

Intel also launched on Tuesday quad-core mobile processors, which will go into production this quarter, according to Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of the mobility group at Intel. Vendors including Dell, Fujitsu Siemens and Lenovo will be rolling out quad-core-based notebook models, he said.

Also highlighted were small-form-factor processors: shrunk-down Centrino 2 versions measuring in the "low to mid 20mm", compared with the standard 35mm.

Topics: Storage, Data Centers, Hardware, Intel, Processors, Servers

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Jump or wait

    It must be a challenging decision for a computer
    manufacturer on whether to immediately go with the latest
    chip, or wait and see if there are any problems, especially if a
    new technology is involved. Those of you who have been
    watching the rate of adoption over time, have manufacturers
    generally been wise to make the leap for obvious marketing
  • RE: Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

  • RE: Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

    I'm finding that new technology needs time.
    Usually a year after it first debut.
    Good example Iphone.
  • Technology steps forward again

    It is nice seeing technology making another step forward. More sophisticated power management is a good thing... less heat, less waste, lower power bills, longer battery life. All good. Having quad-core mobile CPUs... about time! 8 cores for desktop PCs? That is probably overkill right now since most apps don't use them, BUT if you have apps that do, wow! It would seem to me (a non-technical person) that individual mainstream CPU core technology is approaching a practical limit. Having more cores is a great way of creating extra potential power for applications. OK, programmers... step up and take advantage of multi-core systems, video card technology like CUDA (I am a C programmer), and make your apps sing! It appears that software will now need to seriously -- and creatively, catch up with hardware technology! Put it to good use!! Now we wait.... what will AMD come up with? Looking forward to good old USA innovation and competition! Intel vs AMD + Software = about the only thing that the US can export other than recycled Chinese cardboard packaging!!
  • RE: Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

    Je suis partenaire de Intel et ils ont beaucoup de potentiel.
  • RE: Intel unveils Nehalem 'turbo mode'

    Did you buy an Intel 771 or 775 processor/motherboard recently - guess what the new pin outs are different.

    Next year they will be obsolete - with the only positive item being prices will drop on currently available components. Key item - cpu processing speeds are not radically stepping up, no ddr4 memory only dr3 for 1600 fsb, ddr2 for below.

    On the positive side - more of a marketing item quad processors available for laptops, as technology to do that already existed - however if Intel rolling out 8 core for laptops in their initial announcement Now that would be show stopper for AMD. As Laptops typically have a shorter horizon due to depreciation schedules. Amd, & any vendor - I believe should lead with the highest core available equipment in the LAPTOP
    Market - as it keeps their Name more readily in front of the purchaser.
    coffee junky
  • J`ai deux processeurs Intel dans mon PC.

    Je ne voudrais rien d`autre qu`un processeur Intel ce sont les plus fiable, plus puissants et les plus avanc? technologiquement.
    Intel est pour moi une source de renseignements inimaginable quand il s`agie de processeurs ?volu? et les plus avanc? au monde.
    Petit conseil, si vous n`avez pas un ou deux processeurs Intel dans votre ordinateur; Changer le!