Subject: Processors | September 22, 2011 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, tick, 22nm, tri-gate
Over at AnandTech you can read about the first processor to be designed using Intel's new Tri-Gate transistors, Ivy Bridge. As well this new take on Sandy Bridge will natively support USB 3.0 thanks to the improved Z77, Z75 and H77 chipsets. There will also be Q77, Q75 and B75 to make sure you get a more alphabet soup to deal with. The new GPU inside is something Intel is rather proud of, a claimed 33% improvement is impressive and signals that Intel really is taking the iGPU portion of their chips seriously. That focus is confirmed if you read through the minimal improvements to the CPU side, not a bad thing at all, simply confirmation that Intel is concerned more with power efficiency and graphics performance instead of just pumping up the megahertz.
"Five years ago Intel announced its ambitious tick-tock release cadence. We were doubtful that Intel could pull off such an aggressive schedule but with the exception of missing a few months here or there tick-tock has been a success. On years marked by a tick Intel introduces a new manufacturing process, while tock years keep manufacturing process the same and introduce a new microprocessor architecture. To date we've had three tocks (Conroe, Nehalem, Sandy Bridge) and two ticks (Penryn, Westmere). Sampling by the end of this year and shipping in the first half of next year will be Intel's third tick: Ivy Bridge."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i5 2400S @ Phoronix
- All Core i7 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- All Core i5 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- All Core i3 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Interactive AMD Phenom product ID guide @ OC Inside
Subject: Processors | September 22, 2011 - 11:39 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge, Intel, core i7, 2700K, 2600K
Intel’s 2600K processor has sat at the top of the company’s lineup for almost a year now. As the company has had time to work out production issues and streamline the binning on their silicon, the Core i7 2700K that was revealed recently through a materials declaration data sheet (MDDS) would be identical to the 2600K except for a 100MHz bump in clock speed. Launching in October 2011, the new processors are said to be great overclockers due to Intel cherry picking the silicon used in the 2700K.
Interestingly, the 2700K may not replace the current Core i7 2600K processor in the lineup. According to a source by VR-Zone, the 2700K will debut at a higher price point than the 2600K which suggests that Intel has no plans to phase out the processor. Specifically, the new 2700K will not result in cheaper 2600K parts as it debuts at the current list price (for the 2600K) of $317 USD. Rather, VR-Zone suspects that the new Sandy Bridge CPU will launch at a higher price point in the range of $340 to $350 USD.
What are your thoughts on the new Core i7 2700K? Do you think Intel will keep both the 2600K and 2700K around, and (more importantly) will the 2700K be worth the extra money as a pseudo cherry picked 2600K with a 100MHz higher stock clock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Kal-El Tegra SoC to use 5 cores
Recent news from NVIDIA has unveiled some interesting new technical details about the upcoming Kal-El ARM-based Tegra SoC. While we have known for some time that this chip would include a quad-core processor and would likely be the first ARM-based quad-core part on the market, NVIDIA's Matt Wuebbling spilled the beans on a new technology called "Variable SMP" (vSMP) and a fifth core on the die.
An updated diagram shows the fifth "companion" core - Courtesy NVIDIA
This patented technology allows the upcoming Tegra processor to address a couple of key issues that affect smartphones and tablets: standby power consumption and manufacturing process deviations. Even though all five of the cores on Kal-El are going to be based on the ARM Cortex A9 design they will have very different power characteristics due to variations in the TSMC 40nm process technology that builds them. Typical of most foundries and process technologies, TSMC has both a "high performance" and a "low power" derivative of the 40nm technology usually aimed at different projects. The higher performing variation will run at faster clock speeds but will also have more transistor leakages thus increasing overall power consumption. The low power option does just the opposite: lowers the frequency ceiling while using less power at idle and usage states.
CPU power and performance curves - Courtesy NVIDIA
NVIDIA's answer to this dilemma is to have both - a single A9 core built on the low power transistors and quad A9s built on the higher performing transistors. The result is the diagram you saw at the top of this story with a quad-core SoC with a single ARM-based "companion." NVIDIA is calling this strategy Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing and using some integrated hardware tricks it is able to switch between operating on the lower power core OR one to four of the higher power cores. The low power process will support operating frequencies up to only 500 MHz while the high speed process transistors will be able to hit well above 1-1.2 GHz.
Subject: Processors | September 20, 2011 - 01:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge, quad core, Intel, core i7 2700k
The Intel Core i7 2600K is the company’s top tier Sandy Bridge processor; or at least it was until now. CPU World discovered interesting part numbers on the company’s Material Declaration Data Sheet (MDDS) that suggests that there may be a new contender for the top spot. Specifically, the new part numbers are BX80623172700K and BXC80623172700K, which suggests that the new processor will be launched as the Intel Core i7 2700K.
CPU World's discovery of new part numbers.
The site suggests that the new 2700K will be a higher clocked version of the 2600K processor, including a 95 watt TDP, four cores, hyperthreading technology, and 8 MB of cache. Unfortunately, it is not clear just how much higher the 2700K will be clocked at; however, as an unlocked processor with relatively good binning, enthusiasts should be able to get some great overclocks out of them.
Have you upgraded to Sandy Bridge, or are you planning on skipping over it for another upgrade instead? Either way, I think it is a good thing to see Intel updating its current lineup while also pursuing Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 06:17 PM | Ryan Shrout
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 01:54 PM | Ryan Shrout
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM | Ryan Shrout
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.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 14, 2011 - 01:25 PM | Ryan Shrout
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.
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.
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.
If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 14, 2011 - 11:48 AM | Ryan Shrout
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.
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!
Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 14, 2011 - 10:59 AM | Ryan Shrout
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.