Note: This article was not condoned or supported in any way by Intel. We obtained all pre-release hardware on our own. Enjoy.

The Recap

Yeech, ok, this is more complicated than it should be. Last year Intel launched its brand new Nehalem architecture, the first processor was codenamed Bloomfield and sold as the Core i7.


Nehalem - Bloomfield, aka Core i7

The Core i7 has four cores (with Hyper Threading, so that’s 8 threads), an 8MB L3 cache and a triple-channel DDR3 memory controller. Of course there’s a lot of other special sauce that makes the i7 the beast that it is; if you want more details check out my original Nehalem architecture article.

Since its launch, i7 has only been available in three flavors: the 920, 940 and 965. The most affordable one, the i7-920, costs $284 in 1Ku quantities.

Processor Clock Speed Cores / Threads Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency TDP Price
Intel Core i7-965 Extreme 3.20GHz 4 / 8 3.46GHz 130W $999
Intel Core i7-940 2.93GHz 4 / 8 3.20GHz 130W $562
Intel Core i7-920 2.66GHz 4 / 8 2.93GHz 130W $284

 

The Core i7 fits into Intel’s new LGA-1366 socket and is mated with Intel’s X58 chipset:

With the memory controller on-die, the X58 chipset acts like a PCIe switch than anything else; all other I/O (e.g. USB, SATA, Ethernet, etc...) go through the ICH10 which is connected to the X58 hub.

Despite being a relatively simple piece of silicon, Intel prices the X58 chipset as a premium product. The X58 chipset is more expensive than any other desktop Intel chipset on the market, that includes P45 and X48. In turn, X58 motherboards are pricey.

At launch X58 motherboards sold for well above $200 and it took a while for us to see boards finally drop down to and below that $200 price point. Only recently have we found a motherboard that’s even somewhat affordable with MSI’s X58M priced at $169.

With a $200 motherboard and a $284 CPU, the i7 was priced out of competing with even AMD’s highest end Phenom II. While the Phenom II X4 955 costs $245, you can easily pair it with a $100 motherboard.

Rather than drive LGA-1366 pricing down, Intel had another plan - to introduce a more mainstream platform for Nehalem.

Making Nehalem Affordable: LGA-1156
POST A COMMENT

95 Comments

View All Comments

  • Seramics - Sunday, May 31, 2009 - link

    Why is it that in test that demand intensive multi threading, the lynnfield loses out to bloomfield while in less intensive multithreaded or single threaded test, the lynnfield can equal bloomfield? Could it be that in intensive multithreading processing that work up more than 4 threads (thereby requiring the use of HT for better performance), it is able to use the extra memory bandwith provided by triple channel in the bloomfield platform? Maybe in situation where the software can really demand mutlple threading processing intensively, the bloomfield extra memory bandwith provide an edge. An easy way to test this is increasing the memory bandwith of lynnfield and/or decreasing memory bandwith of bloomfield n see wht happens in intensive multithreaded test. Im suspicious of this. Let me know wht u guys thinks. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Sunday, May 31, 2009 - link

    The Turbo Modes for revealed for Lynnfield way before even Core i7's release.

    1 core: +5(+4 for non-HT version)
    2 core: +3
    4 core: +1

    It may or may not be coincidence, but the Turbo speed of the highest clock Lynnfield is equal to the Turbo speed of the highest Core i7. The point is, I think since people will overclock the "enthusiast" i7's anyway, the Turbo doesn't need to be so high.

    According to Intel, the benefits will be GREATER on smaller form factors, which means laptops will have even HIGHER increases.
    Reply
  • RagingDragon - Sunday, May 31, 2009 - link

    Hmmm... I'm not sure how much sense Lynnfield will make in the long term - at the high end you'll have Bloomfield on LGA-1366, and at the low end Clarkdale/Arrandale on LGA-1156. I'm not sure if there's enough room between them for Lynnfield, though I guess it does provide an easy upgrade option for inexpensive OEM systems which need to support Clarkdale. Reply
  • brightstar - Sunday, May 31, 2009 - link

    I'll wait and see how this pans out, but as of right now the I5 sounds like the new Celery proc to me Reply
  • JS - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    "...to protect the innocent"

    I guess you really wanted to say "to protect my sources". I'm guessing they are not innocent at all, unless you actually stole the stuff from them. ;o)
    Reply
  • mybook4 - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    The article mentions that Lynnfield will have a new turbo mode that clocks much higher. I was thinking of reasons why intel might put this feature into the mainstream i5 rather than making the feature exclusive to the i7. Then I remembered that the PCIe controller was integrated into the core.

    To overclock a multiplier locked i5, you would have to increase the base clock. Not sure, but I believe this would also overclock the PCIe controller (something which may not be as tolerant of overclocking).

    This might explain why the new high end turbo mode would be included in the i5. You lose high overclocking potential (which would attract overclockers to i7), but in exchange, the i5 does decent overclocking for you.
    Reply
  • pyn - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    is it possible that we will see turbo modes similar to lynnfield in gulftown? also, is intel going to release any 8 core / 16 thread nehalem processors targeted towards desktop systems or is the nehalem-ex likely to be the only 8 core nehalem we will see? Reply
  • mmpalmeira - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    Why did you use the Lynnfield in a 2.66Ghz configuration with HT on if there wont be models like that in the market? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    I did that to show what sort of performance having HT enabled is responsible for. Intel isn't making a 2.13GHz HT enabled Lynnfield either, but I ran those tests because they're interesting to look at :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Drazick - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    Will the P55 support USB 3, SATA 3, UEFI?
    When will we see all those features in the chipsets, which for me, are much more important than the i5 by itself.

    What about the new Chiopsets, are they SSD optimized?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now