Feeds
80%

Intel Core i7 'Nehalem' processor and X58 chipset

We put the chip giant's new architecture to the test

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Review In appearance, the new Intel Core i7 - based on the 'Nehalem' microarchitecture - looks like a bigger, chunkier version of the Core 2 Quad but under the heat spreader and casing it has a radical design that breaks new ground.

New ground, that is, for Intel, but Core i7 seems to have rather a lot in common with AMD's Phenom microprocessor. Both CPUs have four cores on a single die, unlike the pair of dual-core CPUs you’ll find inside a Core 2 Quad. Both have the memory controller integrated inside the processor.

intel Core i7 logo intel Core i7 logo

In addition, Core i7 has ditched the frontside bus and moved to the QuickPath Interface (QPI), which bears a strong resemblance to the HyperTransport bus AMD uses. QPI is the new name for Intel's erstwhile HyperTransport rival, Common System Interface (CSI).

Intel has adopted a base clock speed of 133.33MHz that is used to drive the CPU speed, memory speed, QPI and the bizarrely named Uncore. Each part works in conjunction with a clock multiplier so, for instance, the 3.2GHz Core i7 965 Extreme runs at 24 x 133MHz, while its memory controller might run the 1066MHz DDR 3memory at 8 x 133MHz. Each processor core has its own multiplier, so the speed of the cores can be adjusted independently of each other, just like Phenom, which may sound intriguing to the overclockers among you but that’s only part of the story.

Intel’s Turbo Mode technology adjusts the speed of the cores in the new processor dynamically and can raise the speed of a core by up to three multiples of the base clock, ie. 400MHz. Turbo Mode assists both performance and power saving as there are times when you're better off with two fast cores rather than four slower ones. The processor speed and power draw can adapt to the workload while monitoring the temperature of the cores to avoid overheating. Turbo Mode is assisted by the introduction of transistors that Intel calls power gates and which are transistors that don’t suffer from leakage when they're turned off so a core that is shut down doesn’t waste power.

Intel Nehalem

Inside the Core i7

The Power Control Unit accounts for one million transistors and holds its operations in firmware loaded from the motherboard Bios, so the way the CPU operates can be updated with relative ease.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Will.i.am gets CUFFED as he announces his new wristjob, the PULS
It's got four KILOWATTS of something, apparently
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?
Subtle, naturalistic ambiance – perfect for Transformers 4
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.