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IDF Spring 2006 Day 1: New Core Architecture Overview

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: Intel

Dual Core Energy Efficiency

With all this new energy efficiency from Intel's new core, it would seem that single core processors might again be an option but Intel is not going down that path.  This slide shows what Intel's sees as the balance between power consumption and performance.  The center two bars represent the current status of a single core performance normalized and a single core power usage normalized as well.  On the left of that you'll see a typically overclocked processor, as many of our readers are familiar with.  Here you can see that with a 1.73x increase in power you do get additional power, but only 1.13x the performance over the standard power usage model.  On the other hand, underclocking allows you to reverse that ratio and decrease power consumption much more than performance drops. 

Multicores are basically following the underclocking theory here, but by combining two cores, that use less that twice the total power, but can increase performance dramatically, we see the ratio of power to performance is more ideal than the straight overclocking method (which is what Intel was essentially doing with the Pentium 4).

Looking for even more?  Intel says that quad cores are definitely coming in 2007, but not to expect more than that through 2008 as the software community really needs to do some catching up before the benefits of more than four cores can be utilized. 

Intel has a lot of work in on the software development fields pushing and prodding the developers to utilize multithreaded applications.  They have many tools that they are giving away to software developers including critical path analysis and loop optimization.

More Energy Efficiency Options

Intel believes that even more can be done to increase power efficiency on these systems by taking the same power features from the processor to the entire platform.  Rather than keep the low power state only an option in the processor, if we could apply it to the core logic on the motherboard and the main system memory. 

By applying these theories to a reference design for a mobile video player, Intel shows the ability to take the total power consumption from over 6.5 watts to under 4 watts by just enabling these types of platform power optimizations. 

Quad Core Demo

If you need even more power, how does a dual processor, quad core system sound?

Here you can see eight total logical units working on the CineBench benchmark, with an ending score of 1459 CB-CPU!  Check out the performance on our recent FX-60 processor review and you'll see that this early sample of their quad core technology is already pretty impressive.

Be sure to keep checking back on PC Perspective for more IDF coverage!

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