Review Index:

IDF Fall 2007: Terascale Computing Updates and more

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: Intel

Desktop and Mobile

Desktop Updates

We have covered the Intel desktop roadmap extensively in other IDF articles as well so there isn’t much to add here today that would be repetitive.  A couple of interesting things did catch my eye on the way out the door.

The only officially announced and named product for the desktop Penryn core launch is the Core 2 Extreme QX9650.  The specifications for the CPU are just about what we expected for Intel’s top of the line CPU due later this year:

  • Quad-core

  • 3.0 GHz clock speed

  • 12MB L2 cache

  • 1333 MHz front-side bus

  • 130 watt TDP

  • SSE4 and other architectural enhancements

  • Overspeed protection removed

That last feature should make the processor more enthusiast-friendly but of course you had better be prepared to pay the $1000+ price that all the latest Intel CPUs have been debuting at.

This slide shows the performance gains of moving from the Kentsfield core QX6850 running at 3.0 GHz to the upcoming 45nm Penryn core QX9650 with 12MB L2 cache at the same 3.0 GHz clock speed.  The results result in a 7-13% improvement clock for clock on the new part, with an outlier of 63% in an SEE4 optimized media application.

Along with the new processors due later next quarter, Intel will be bringing the new X38 chipset out to the market very soon as well.  One of the new features Intel is pushing on it is Intel Extreme Memory.

Corsair is one of several companies that will have Intel Extreme Memory available for the chipset launch later in the month.  Basically the same thing as we saw with the EPP (extended performance profiles) and SLI memory initiatives, Intel’s technology offers the ability to add information the SPD on the memory DIMM to showcase more than one speed possibility and to allow mostly automatic memory overclocking.

This shot shows some XMP capable DDR3 memory from Corsair running at an impressive 1940 MHz with a CAS latency of 7. 

With a beta version of CPU-Z, the XMP memory technology can be seen at work with the timings table indicating standard JEDEC specs for the first two and then a third XMP offering with overclocked settings. 

Mobile Updates

The mobile updates from Intel weren't as dramatic as those we were seeing on the desktop with Skulltrail and a new core logic chipset coming out but there are some updates coming.

Next year we’ll see a refresh of the Santa Rosa platform that basically adds the Penryn-based processors to the mobile segment.  The chipsets and supporting logic will remain the same until the middle of 2008 when the Montevina platform is released.  Montevina will update the Penryn core slightly but also add in a new ICH9M and Cantiga chipset as well as Echo Peak WiMAX support. 

During our Skulltrail demonstration yesterday we were also shown a pair of notebooks comparing the upcoming Penryn core to the existing Core architecture processors in their mobile form.  Identical in all other respects, the two systems were running some multimedia tests and the Penryn was very obviously the winner by having higher performance with the same power envelope. 

Show Conclusions

That wraps up the coverage for us from the floor of the fall 2007 Intel Developer Forum.  As always, this year’s IDF was both informative and interesting for just about any type of computer enthusiast.  We did get a lot of great looks and things coming down the pipeline that I cannot discuss yet, but when we can, I look forward to sharing it with you. 

If you missed any of my other IDF coverage, be sure to catch up on the news from this past week!

IDF Fall 2007 Keynote - Penryn, Nehalem, Larrabee
IDF Fall 2007: PCI Express 3.0, Intel's new Interconnect and Skulltrail
Rendering Games with Raytracing Will Revolutionize Graphics
IDF Fall 2007: Skulltrail Performance Benchmarks

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