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Sunday, 23 November 2008 09:39
Intel release a super-processor i7 !

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New Intel i7 chip targets high end PC users

19 November, 2008
By Paul Weinberg

Intel is targeting its new Core i7 microprocessor at high end PC users who work or play with processor intensive applications -- involving scientific analysis, financial market modeling, translation, gaming, video and music.

"If you are talking about a general purpose processor, especially one in systems in a PC price range, this is clearly faster than anything Intel has and way faster than anything that AMD has," stated Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64.

He put in a caveat here that AMD is less interested these days in outpacing Intel on the processor speed. "AMD is focusing much more on the larger mid-market opportunities."

Among the features listed by Brookwood is the integrated memory controller on the i7 chip which boosts performance by 20 to 50 percent., Also, the combination of faster floating point and numeric processing capabilities help to speed up scientific calculations, he continued.

"This is all about performance and this chip has more performance for those high end systems from $1,000 and up. This is a small segment of the [PC] market where users still [feel] constrained by the performance of the processor in their system."

Back in 2003 AMD was the first processor vendor to put the memory controller on the CPU and Intel has finally followed suite, recalled Brookwood.

"That is the most cost effective way, to deliver large amounts of memory."

The i7 is the first processor in the Nehalem processor line. Brookwood stated he expects subsequent versions in the second half of 2009 will show up on a broader set of mainframes, desktops and notebooks.

So far, the i7 is only available for PCs but the Intel processor will appear in two socket and four socket servers in the first quarter and last quarter of next year respectively, the Insight64 analyst added.

However, John Sloan, senior analyst at the Info-Tech Research told eChannelLine he doubts the Intel i7 would have the same appeal among server business users who have less of a need for processor power for their applications.

"Most servers are over provisioned. That is why we have virtualization. A sequel server application does not require all of the power that you currently have [on a server]."

Also bullish about the i7 is Warren Shiau, lead analyst, IT research, The Strategic Counsel.

"General consensus appears to be that toe-to-toe, i7 is ahead of AMD Phenom 45nm on pure performance, though things are fairly close. That is, for pure performance you can't go wrong either way," he said. "Of course, Intel will move i7 to a 32nm process -- the Westmere update -- long before AMD goes to 32nm. So, you have to keep in mind that the current i7 (Nehalem) versus Phenom 45nm comparison is very likely to shift more toward i7 over time."

Shiau noted from test results i7's efficiency in terms of power. "This is on the 45nm process, so when Westmere comes out on 32nm the power efficiency should get even better," he said. "In a nutshell, Nehalem was designed to take advantage of well-threaded applications and i7's performance/watt in those sorts of scenarios is testing out as pretty stupendous; and i7 is also testing out to deliver really good performance-per-watt in general."

The Nehalem architecture is going to protect Intel's pure performance lead and it's also showing great performance-per-watt, which is leading to speculation the mobile variant of the Nehalem architecture would do major things for Intel in the notebook market, he added.



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Last Updated on Sunday, 23 November 2008 10:16