As expected, Intel Corp. unveiled its first chips powered by Nehalem micro-architecture for mobile computers. The new central processing units (CPUs) originally known under Clarksfield code-name will power high-end laptops aimed at demanding workstation users or gamers. Besides, the new code-named Calpella platform will enable richer multimedia feature-set for notebook.
Intel Core i7 Mobile microprocessors based on the “Lynnfield” core boast with four processing cores that feature simultaneous multi-threading capability, Intel dynamic Turbo Boost technology, integrated dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, built-in PCI Express 2.0 x16 interconnection and so on. The new chips can process up to eight threads simultaneously or dynamically increase clock-speeds of select cores when single-threaded performance is needed most. Performance-wise, Intel Core i7 Mobile processors are the fastest in the industry.
"With intelligent features like Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and a host of others, Intel has revolutionized the laptop PC processor, delivering performance when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t. For the first time, mobile users can choose a laptop that delivers Internet-server like speed, right in their laps for the most demanding tasks, from intense gaming to digital video editing and social media applications," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel architecture group.
Since the new microprocessors are made using 45nm fabrication process, the Calpella will not be much more power efficient compared to current generation platforms. The Core i7 Extreme mobile processor will have thermal design power (TDP) of about 55W, whereas the other Core i7 mobile chips will have 45W TDP. In fact, thermal envelopes of the new chips are even higher compared to existing Intel Core 2 Quad for mobile processors, but keeping in mind that the new CPUs feature built-in memory controllers, overall power consumption of the whole platform should remain on about the same levels. However, considering the fact that the new chips offer very high performance, users of Intel Core i7 Mobile-based laptops are likely to be more than satisfied with new processors.
Intel Core i7 Mobile processors are compatible with code-named Ibex Peak-M core-logic that is officially called Intel PM55. The core-logic 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.
Leading notebook makers, including Asustek Computer, Dell, HP and Toshiba began shipping laptops today based on Intel Core i7 mobile processors, with additional systems from OEMs available in the coming months.
At present Intel offers three Intel Core i7 mobile processors:
- Core i7-720QM: 1.60GHz, 1MB L2 cache (256KB per core), 6MB unified L3 core, with or without vPro technology, $364;
- Core i7-820QM: 1.73GHz, 1MB L2 cache (256KB per core), 8MB unified L3 core, with or without vPro technology, $546;
- Core i7-920XM: 2.00GHz, 1MB L2 cache (256KB per core), 8MB unified L3 core, with or without vPro technology, $1054.