Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Core Philosophy

Ah, IDF – the Intel Developer Forum.  Almost every year–while I sit in slightly uncomfortable chairs and stare at outdated and color washed projector screens–information is passed on about Intel's future architectures, products and technologies.  Last year we learned the final details about Ivy Bridge, and this year we are getting the first details about Haswell, which is the first architecture designed by Intel from the ground up for servers, desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. 

Design Philosophy

While Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge were really derivatives of prior designs and thought processes, the Haswell design is something completely different for the company.  Yes, the microarchitecture of Haswell is still very similar to Sandy Bridge (SNB), but the differences are more philosophical rather than technological. 

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Intel's target is a converged core: a single design that is flexible enough to be utilized in mobility devices like tablets while also scaling to the performance levels required for workstations and servers.  They retain the majority of the architecture design from Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge including the core design as well as the key features that make Intel's parts unique: HyperThreading, Intel Turbo Boost, and the ring interconnect. 

The three pillars that Intel wanted to address with Haswell were performance, modularity, and power innovations.  Each of these has its own key goals including improving performance of legacy code (existing), and having the ability to extract greater parallelism with less coding work for developers. 

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Continue reading our preview of the upcoming Intel Haswell architecture!!

Live Blog: Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2012 Keynotes

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | September 11, 2012 - 11:52 AM |
Tagged: Intel, idf, idf 2012, keynote

The Intel Developer Forum is one of the best places in the world to get information and insight on the future of technology directly from those that creat it.  Join me as I live blog (Wi-Fi connection dependent as always!) the keynotes from all three days at http://pcper.com/live!!

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Be sure to stop by our PC Perspective Live page at 9am PT on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!!

Podcast #170 - AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, podcast, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, gpu, cpu, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #170 - 9/15/2011

Join us this week as we discuss AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Sorry about audio problems due to Skype and Ryan having little bandwidth on the road

Program length: 45:26

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Stay Tuned for a contest!!
  6. 0:01:30 ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:02:36 Bulldozer First Release and the State of 32nm AMD Parts
  8. 0:10:15 AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!
  9. 0:13:50 Oh joy the BIOS level trojan is finally here
  10. 0:17:50 Windows 8 Developer Preview Build Sees Public Release At BUILD Conference
  11. 0:23:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:24:37 IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power
  13. 0:27:08 IDF 2011: Intels Shows a PC Running on Solar Power
  14. 0:30:10 IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote
  15. 0:35:27 SSD Update: 710 series
  16. 0:38:31 IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Still Sexy, I Still Want It
  17. 0:39:34 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
  18. 0:40:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Ultrabooks - I wants them
    2. Jeremy: Stop ruining many of the fond memories I have of my teenage years!
    3. Josh: gettin closer to that $1 per GB:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227552
    4. Allyn: mumble
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing
Source:

IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ray tracing, knights ferry, idf 2011, idf

Very few things impress like a collection of 256 processor cores in a box.  But that is exactly what we saw on our last visit to the floor at the Intel Developer Forum this year when I stopped by to visit friend-of-the-site Daniel Pohl to discuss updates to the ray tracing research he has been doing for many years now.  This is what he showed us:

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What you see there is a dual-Xeon server running a set of 8 (!!) Knights Ferry many-core processor discrete cards.  Each card holds a chip with 32 Intel Architecture cores running at 1.2 GHz on it and each core can handle 4 threads for a total of 1024 threads in flight at any given time!  Keep in mind these are all modified x86 cores with support for 16-bit wide vector processing so they are pumping through a LOT of FLOPS.  Pohl did note that only 31-32 of the cores are actually doing ray tracing at any given time though as they reserve a couple for scheduling tasks, operating system interaction, etc.

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Each of the the eight cards in the system is using a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors and they are jammed in there pretty tight.  Pohl noted this was the only case they could find that would fit 8 dual-slot add-in cards into it so I'll take a note of that for when I build my own system around them.  Of course there are no display outputs on the Knights Ferry cards as they were never really turned into GPUs in the traditional sense.  They are essentially development and research for exascale computing and HPC workloads for servers though the plan is to bring the power to consumers eventually.

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To run the demo the Knights Ferry ray tracing server was communicating over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to this workstation that was running game processing, interaction processing and more and passed off data about the movements of the camera and objects in the ray traced world to the server.  The eight Knights Ferry cards then render the frame, the Xeon CPUs compress the image (8:1 using a standard Direct 3D format) and send the data across the network.  All of this happens in real time with basically no latency issues when compared to direct PC gaming. 

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While the ray tracing game engine projects might seem a little less exciting since the demise of Larrabee, Pohl and his team have been spending a lot of time on learning how to take advantage of the x86 cores available.  The Wolfenstein demo we have seen in past events has been improved to add things like HDR lighting, anti-aliasing and more.

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Though these features have obviously been around in rasterization based solutions for quite a long time, the demo was meant to showcase the fact that ray tracing doesn't inherently have difficulty performing those kinds of tasks as long as the processing power is there and alotted to it. 

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I am glad to see the ray tracing research continuing at Intel as I think that in the long-term future, that is the route that gaming and other graphics-based applications will be rendering.  And I am not alone - id Software founder and Doom/Quake creator John Carmack agreed in a recent interview we held with him

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner

Subject: Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, knights ferry, knights corner, mic, terascale

During Justin Rattner's closing keynote at the Intel Developer Forum he discussed the pending changes to the Many Integrated Core Architectures (MIC) that we previously knew as the Terascale projects.  While we have heard about the Knights Ferry component for some time, and it was basically used a software development platform for Intel's many-core initiative. 

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Impressive to see at this stage, the upcoming Knights Corner product will actually be built on the new 22nm tri-gate transistors and with more than 50 cores.  They haven't posted more details on what exactly ">50" refers to but it does mean that Intel continues to progress down this path and is going to be pushing the terascale computing projects into the future. 

Rattner also indicated that not all of the cores on the many-core projects have to be identical and we will soon see designs that combine more than the x86 processors to make for truly heterogeneous computing platforms. 

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Research into the program continues including things like stacked and shared memory, new communications protocols like optical interconnects, etc.  We are just as eager to see the fruits of this research as we were for its application to gaming and graphics that eventually failed.

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer

Bloggers and techies descend on the IDF

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2011 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf, idf 2011

Ryan wasn't the only one madly recording the Intel Developers Forum keynote address by Mooly Eden, The Tech Report was also there.  Drop by their record of the live blog that they created here, complete with pictures from a different angle than Ryan's and with different content in some cases. There is even a hacker ninja!

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"Our own Scott Wasson and Geoff Gasior live blogged Mooly Eden's keynote (complete with pictures) at the Intel Developer Forum this morning. The keynote centered on Intel's mobile endeavors, including Windows 8 tablets and Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks. Eden also gave a sneak preview of Intel's next-gen Haswell processors, which will succeed Ivy Bridge in 2013."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 14, 2011 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: mooly eden, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf

Today is day 2 at the Intel Developer Forum and with the first keynote out of the way, we can share a few short details about Ivy Bridge that we didn't know before.  First, the transistor count is 1.48 billion - a hefty jump over Sandy Bridge that had less than 1 billion.

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There was also mention of a new power management feature that will allow interrupts from other hardware devices to go to other cores than Core0, which it had ALWAYS done in the past. This means that it can route it to a core that is already awake and doing some work and not wake up a sleeping core unless necessary.

We also saw the Ivy Bridge processor running the HAWX 2 benchmark, now with support for DX11.

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If you look at the die image at the top of this post, you will also notice that it appears more of the die has been assigned to graphics performance than was allocated to it on Sandy Bridge.  Remember that on AMD's Llano about 50% of the die dedicated to stream processors; it would appear that by adding support for DX11, nearly doubling performance and including required support for things like DirectCompute, Intel was forced to follow suit to some degree. 

Mooly laughed at press taking pictures of the die as he had purposely modified the image to hide some of the details or distort them to prevent precise measurements.  Still, it looks like about 33% of the new Ivy Bridge processor is dedicated to graphics and media.  This is good news for consumers, but potentially very bad news for the discrete GPU market in notebooks and low end PCs.

Finally, Mooly Eden ended with a brief look at future Ultrabooks that will be based on the Ivy Bridge processor.

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If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Still Sexy, I Still Want It

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 14, 2011 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, asus, ultrabook, ux21

Yes, I realize the ASUS UX21 was first shown at Computex in June, but this was my first chance to get my hands on it and I have to say after using it for just a few minutes and comparing it to the aging Lenovo X201 that I am typing this on, I am in love with the form factor.

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I don't have anything else to report yet - no performance metrics, no real-world testing, but I couldn't pass posting these few pictures of it.  Enjoy!

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Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: MSI Shows Off Upcoming X79 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 14, 2011 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: x79, sandy bridge-e, msi, idf 2011, idf

Many of Intel's partners are on hand at IDF to showcase upcoming products and I was able to stop by the MSI booth yesterday to get a peek into the future of the X79 chipset.  This chipset will launch with the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors (for enthusiast) sometime later this year and introduce a new processor socket (Socket 2011) as well as some new features like dozens of PCI Express connections and quad-channel memory.

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The flagship board on display was the X79A-GD65 (8D) that is one of the few X79 boards I have seen sporting 8 DIMM slots (hence the name) and capacities as high as 64GB!  Most of the MSI features we have come to love on current motherboards are going to be on this line as well including Military Class components, OC Genie II and the much updated and improved ClickBIOS II.

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The board is completely 3-Way SLI ready (and CrossFire as well) and sports three total PCI Express 3.0 slots at x16 bandwidth but also adds in three more PCIe 2.0 slots for good measure. 

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There are 4x USB 3.0 ports, 12x USB 2.0 ports, 4x SATA 6G ports and 4x SATA 3G ports.  Needless to say the X79 platforms are going to be an enthusiast's dream.

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MSI is also likely to include a new breakout box with X79 motherboards that will reside in a 5.25-in bay slot on your case (and honestly I need more things to use up there these days) and give you a couple of USB ports, an OC Genie button that will double as a BIOS reset button when held down, and even integrated WiFi and Bluetooth.  The above photo is just a mock up but the plans are in place to deliver them with these new boards.

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Finally, MSI did have the much improved and updated ClickBIOS II UEFI on display and without a doubt it kicks the first version's ass.  We are working on a review that includes this new implementation so expect more on that soon.

Source: PCPer