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Clarkdale GMA

Just like in Lynnfield processors, the new CPUs will have an integrated memory controller and a PCIE controller therefore there will be no need for the North Bridge. By the way, specifically due to the PCIE controller Clarkdale based systems will also be able to work with discrete graphics accelerators. Actually, there is real practical value in using external add-on graphics cards, because the graphics core in Clarkdale processors is a direct successor to Intel GMA. In other words, it comes from the GPUs that used to be integrated into chipsets.

However, the new GPU will undergo some serious improvements. First, Intel Clear Video engine will be able to hardware decode two high definition video streams simultaneously. This feature may be used for Blu-ray playback with enabled picture-in-picture mode and minimal CPU utilization.

Also, Intel has completely redesigned the user interface for their graphics and media control panel. Now it looks overall better and more feature rich.

As for the 3D part, the number of shader processors will increase to 12 (Intel G45 only has 10 of them) and their operational frequencies will be between 733-900 MHz (Intel G45 supports 800 MHz frequency). The amount of video memory that the GPU will be able to take away from the system RAM will also increase to 1.7 GB. Overall, Intel promises that Clarkdale graphics will work about 1.4-1.5 times faster than the integrated graphics core in G45 based systems.

AES New Instructions

Coming back to the processor core, we have to point out that it will have only one significant microarchitectural modification compared with 45 nm Nehalem processors. Namely, Intel is going to introduce support for the new AESNI instructions set in their new Westmere CPUs. AESNI is a set of six utilitarian instructions pursuing only one goal: accelerating the AES encryption algorithm.

Intel claims that Windows 7 operating system already supports new instructions and right after Clarkdale launch, this OS should start using this new set for all of its encryption algorithms. Moreover, they will also find their way into all sorts of software applications, but, of course, only after it has been recompiled for the new instructions. For example, Intel demonstrated an upcoming version of WinZip archiving tool. During encrypted data compression on CPUs with AESNI support, it may speed up by up to 1.5 times.

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