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Intel tries again with flash cache

Braidwood picks up Robson's dropped ball

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Intel has a new flash memory I/O acceleration system - codenamed Braidwood - coming for its CPUs, according to reports from Computex in Taiwan.

It is a flash memory cache, possibly up to 16GB capacity, that caches I/O from the processor so that data in the I/O is available more quickly when it is next needed. Intel first tried such caching with Robson, sold as Turbo Memory, which was not generally considered a success.

Broadwood will be offered with Clarkdale and the 5 Series chipsets. Another report links it to Lynnfield chips.

There are no detailed comparisons between Turbo Memory and Braidwood which would enable any judgements to be made about its potential functional superiority. The only information on Intel's website about Braidwood is in Russian. According to the reports coming out of Computex, Intel says Braidwood will provide quicker boot, faster application startup and a generally more responsive system, which is what Turbo Memory was supposed to do.

Clarkdale will be a Nehalem-architecture CPU, built on Intel's 32nm process technology. It is slated to have two cores, four threads and an integrated graphics processor. Production is said to start towards the end of this year with shipments in 2010. Lynnfield is a 4-core, 8-thread processor that is expected to be twinned with Intel's P55 chipset and also appear in 2010.

Our understanding is that the P55 is one of five models in the single chip 5-Series chipset family, the others being the H55, P57, Q57 and H57. The P55 and P57 are for consumer PCs. The H55 and H57 are for processors which have integrated graphics, suggesting Clarkdale will use one of them, while the Q57 is for enterprise PC processors. ®

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