Intel Corp. on Monday confirmed that its microprocessors based on the code-named Nehalem micro-architecture will be officially sold under the well-known Core trademark. As projected, the new chips are set to be commercially available in Q4 2008.
The Intel Core processor brand name has gained broad awareness and popularity over the past several years. Therefore, according to Intel, the Core name remains the logical choice for Intel’s latest family of processors. The Intel Core i7 processor brand logo will be available for high-performance desktop PCs with a separate black logo for Intel’s highest-end Extreme Edition. Intel will include processor model numbers to differentiate each chip.
“The Core name is and will be our flagship PC processor brand going forward. Expect Intel to focus even more marketing resources around that name and the Core i7 products starting now,” said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and general manager, sales and marketing group
The main micro-architectural enhancements for Nehalem that Intel has discussed so far is increased parallelism – the new microprocessors will be able to execute 33% more concurrent micro-ops at the same time. Additional improvements include faster unaligned cache accesses and faster synchronization primitives. In order to exclude situations when execution units stand idle, Intel also implemented new 2nd level branch predictor.
Another key enhancement of Intel Nehalem is completely redesigned cache sub-system. The new chips will feature 2nd level 512 entry translation look-aside buffer (in addition to 1st level TLB) in order to further reduce the so-called TLB miss rate, a completely new feature on x86 microprocessors. In addition, Intel Nehalem processors (at least, in certain implementations) will have three-level cache hierarchy: 64KB L1 (32KB for data, 32KB for instructions), 256KB L2 cache per core, 8MB L3 cache per processor. Traditionally, Intel chips use inclusive cache policy.
The world’s largest maker of x86 microprocessors also reiterated that its high-end Nehalem microprocessors will have from 2 to 8 cores, triple-channel DDR3 memory controller (with up to 1333MHz clock-speed supported initially), will use Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) bus and will support multi-threading technology similar with Intel Hyper-Threading that was first unveiled back in 2002 as well as SSE4.2 instructions.
Intel’s first implementation of Nehalem processor is code-named Bloomfield. This quad-core chip will be made using 45nm process technology and will sport 731 million transistors.
Initial products based on this micro-architecture are expected to be in production in the fourth quarter of this year.