by Anton Shilov
06/10/2011 | 05:37 PM
Intel Corp.'s Core i7-series microprocessors have been the highest-performing chips on the market for many years now. Apparently, Intel is so confident about the brand that even the next-generation high-end code-named Sandy Bridge-E microprocessors will continue to carry it.
Intel's forthcoming microprocessors presently known under Sandy Bridge-E name will retain the Core i7 trademark and will not switch to something like Core i8 or Core i9, according to a confidential document seen by X-bit labs. Despite of revised form-factor and micro-architecture, Intel seems to believe that sustaining the good-old brand will make it easier for the end-user to recognize the new high-end and Extreme-series microprocessors. Intel may have different motives to retain the well-known brand.
Based on documents seen by X-bit labs, in Q4 2011 the world's largest maker of chips plans to introduce at least three different Sandy Bridge E-series microprocessors: two fully unlocked models with six cores, 15MB or 12MB of cache, 3.30GHz or 3.20GHz clock-speeds as well as one quad-core partially unlocked model with 10MB cache and 3.60GHz frequency. The enthusiast-class central processing units (CPUs) will have quad-channel memory controllers and will require mainboards based on Intel X79 core-logic with LGA2011 socket.
Intel's current-generation Core i-990X Extreme Edition processor has six cores, 12MB of cache, works at 3.46GHz in default mode and can overclock itself to 3.73GHz thanks to Turbo Boost technology. Given the fact that its successor will function at 3.30GHz and will have maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.9GHz, it looks like Intel pins a lot of hopes onto the new micro-architecture that will enable higher performance of the Sandy Bridge E-series chips compared to existing CPUs and does not want to boost clock-speeds to the skies. Indirectly, this may indicate that the company is confident that its six-core Sandy Bridge-E chips will be competitive against eight-core AMD FX-series "Zambezi" microprocessors powered by Bulldozer micro-architecture.
According to Intel's internal estimates, Sandy Bridge E-series microprocessors will account for about 1% - 2% of Intel's desktop processor shipments by volume in 2H 2011. By contrast, Sandy Bridge chips for mainstream PCs will represent a half of Intel's desktop shipments in the second half of 2011.
Intel did not comment on the news-story.