Intel will launch its first three Nehalem processors on November 17, according to a report on the site Expreview.com. These Bloomfield high-end chips will include the 3.2 GHz Core i7-965XE ($999), 2.93GHz Core i7-940 ($562) and 2.66GHz Core i7-920 ($284).
Nehalem is manufactured using the same 45nm process as current desktop and mobile chips, but it has a new design or microarchitecture. I've written previously about some of the new features in Nehalem.
Next year Intel will release mainstream desktop processors, as well as mobile and server versions of Nehalem. Like the Core i7, the Lynnfield desktop and Clarksfield mobile processors will use a separate GPU; the Havendale desktop and Auburndale mobile version will integrate a GPU in the processor package, thought it will also work with a separate GPU. The Lynnfield and Clarksfield processors will have four cores, while Havendale and Auburndale will be dual-core chips. The server processors are currently referred to as Nehalem-EX.
Desktops PCs with these first Core i7 chips will also have new, high-end motherboards based on the Intel X58 (or Tylersburg) chipset. Even though it has several new features such as integrated memory controller and Quick Path Interconnect, the X58 platform will still use a chipset that consists of two separate chips--like current systems that have a Northbridge and Southbridge. Next year's Ibex Peak (for Lynnfield and Havendale desktop chips) and Ibex Peak-M (for the Clarksfield and Auburndale laptop chips) chipset will in fact be a single chip--or a two-chip solution if you count the processor.
The details on the X58 platform have been slowly leaking out since the Computex tradeshow last June where motherboard makers show off their products. Several enthusiast sites such as Anandtech and Tom's Hardware have posted previews, but we've yet to see any real performance results.
AMD is set to launch its first 45nm processors (code-named Shanghai) sometime this quarter. As with Barcelona, the first versions will be server processors followed by desktop parts most likely in early 2009. The new 45nm process should help AMD reach high frequencies (and cut manufacturing costs), but there's a big gap between the current 2.6GHz Phenom X4 9550 and a possible 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-965XE, so it seems unlikely that AMD will wrest the performance crown from Intel with Shanghai.