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Intel Corp. on Tuesday formally launched its second-generation desktop PC platform based on Nehalem micro-architecture. The new Core i5 and Core i7 central processing units (CPUs) based on the Lynnfield core will not offer considerably higher performance than predecessors, but will enable cost-efficiency, lower thermal envelopes and lower amount of chips needed for mainstream personal computers (PCs).

The new Core i7 and i5 processors are the first Intel processors to integrate both a 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 graphics port and two-channel memory controller, enabling all input/output and manageability functions to be handled by the single-chip Intel P55 core-logic. Previous Intel chipsets required two separate chips.

A new Direct Media Interface (DMI) connects between the processor and chipset. The chipset supports 8 PCI Express 2.0 x1 Ports (2.5GT/s), 1 PCI Express 2.0 x16 (which can work in x8 mode for dual graphics boards configuration). The chipset also supports 6 Serial ATA-300 ports with RAID levels 0/1/5/10 support, up to 14 USB 2.0 ports, Intel high-definition audio, Ethernet and so on.

The new Intel Core i5 and i7 “Lynnfield” processors are based on the Nehalem micro-architecture with all of its advantages. The new chips are made using 45nm process technology and are compatible with the new LGA1156 infrastructure.

Despite of the fact that Lynnfield chips are intended to be generally more affordable than first-generation code-named Bloomfield (Core i7 900-series) processors, initially the price of the novelties will be similar compared to the year-old high-end products. One of the advantages the new chips have over predecessors is lower thermal design power, 95W vs. 130W.

The first Lynnfield chips are the following models:

  • Core i7-870 – 4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB cache, 2.93GHz clock-speed, $562 price;
  • Core i7-860 – 4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB cache, 2.80GHz clock-speed, $284 price;
  • Core i5-750 – 4 cores, 4 threads, 8MB cache, 2.66GHz clock-speed, $196 price.

At present Intel Core i7-950 (4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB cache, 3.06GHz clock-speed) is priced at $562 and on October 18, 2009, Intel plans to introduce Core i7-960 chip (4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB cache, 3.2GHz clock-speed) at that price-point. Intel Core i7-920 (4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB cache, 2.66GHz clock-speed) Therefore, it is noteworthy that at present the higher-end Lynnfield model is hardly a viable competitor to its previous-generation brother.

Tags: Intel, Core, Lynnfield, 45nm

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