IDF 2009: Intel concretizes CPU roadmap for 32 nm Westmere and Sandy Bridge
At the IDF Intel has revealed new information about the Westmere and Sandy Bridge CPU architectures, both of which are designed in a 32 nanometer architecture. Gulftown, Clarkdale and Arrandale have been detailed.
Besides the announcement of the, yet unnamed, 22 nanometer architecture Intel has talked about the Westmere CPUs Gulftown (6 cores/12 threads), Clarkdale (2 cores/4 threads) and Arrandale (2 cores/4threads for mobile). PC games Hardware summarizes the given information.
In general Intel sticks to the Tick Tock Model, which schedules a new micro architecture every second years - the years in between are covered with Die shrinks. Intel says to be on schedule with the Westmere (32 nanometer), which succeeds the Nehalem (45 nanometer). Production is supposed to begin in Q4 2009. The 32 nanometer process with the codename P1268 doesn't promise smaller cores only but is supposed to reduce the power loss, too.
The first two Westmere models will be launched at the end of the year: Lynnfield (Core i5/Core i7) will be backed up by the entry level processor Clarkdale (Core i3) with two cores/four threads and 32 nanometer technology - the mobile version is called Arrandale. Clarkdale and Arrandale will be available with integrated graphics chips only. Those GPUs will still be produces in 45 nanomters and support DriectX 10. But it is supposed that they will differ only slightly from the known G45/GM45 chips (Intel mentions Intel Clear Video HD, Premium Audio and graphics Turbo). CPU and GPU only share a casing but are not placed on the same Die.
The mentioned Westmere CPUs communicate with chipsets of the 5er series, but those won't have many tasks anymore: The "chipset” will consist of one chip only. The memory controller for the DDR3 is directly integrated into the Westmere models and if necessary the same applies to the graphics chip. Even the interconnection of additional graphics cards via PCI Express is handled by the CPU. Thus the northbridge actually only controls the drives and input devices.
The high-end sector won't be resupplied before 2010, when the Core i7 is replaced by the 6-core 32 nanometer processor Gulftown, which has 12 threads due to Hyper-Threading and is supposed to be compatible to the same X58 chipset as the i7/Bloomfield.
|Segment||Nehalem (45 nm)||Kerne||Threads||Westmere (32 nm)||Kerne||Threads|
|Desktop||Mittelklasse||Lynnfield||4||8||Clarkdale (inkl. Integrierte Grafik)||2||4|
|Mobile||Clarksfield||4||8||Arrandale (inkl. Integrierte Grafik)||2||4|
|Server||Einsteiger (1 Sockel)||Lynnfield||4||8||Clarkdale (inkl. Integrierte Grafik)||2||4|
After the Westmere there will be another 32 nm architecture (codename Sandy Bridge) in late 2010 or early 2011. The Tape Out of Sandy Bridge has already been announced in July. In contrast to Westmere the CPU and the GPU are placed on the same Die in this case. Intel wants to use a new version of the Clear Vide HD technology, offer better graphics performance and probably even DirectX 11 compatibility. That Intel will already use Larrabee graphics units for Sandy Bridge is rather unrealistic.
Intel promises acceleration for the handling of video files, an appropriate Sandy Bridge system has been on display. Sandy Bridge is also said to be faster in floating point calculations. The changes of the architecture contain the Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), the successor of SSE. Rumors say that Sandy Bridge CPUs will have up to eight cores.
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