Intel unveils its fastest chip yet for computers of tomorrow

18 Nov 2008

Sporting turbo boost and hyper-threading technologies, Intel today revealed the first member of its Nehalem microarchitecture family, the Intel Core i7 processor, which it claims is its most advanced desktop processor ever.

The Core i7 holds a new world record of 117 for the SPECint_base_rate2006 benchmark test that measures the performance of a processor. This is the first time ever that any single processor has exceeded a score of 100 points.

“Intel has delivered the fastest desktop processor on Earth to the most demanding users on Earth, the ones who are using their PCs for video, gaming and music,” said Patrick Gelsinger, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group.

Future Human

“When you couple what is Intel’s biggest leap in chip design with other incredible innovations like Intel’s solid-state drives, the Core i7 processor has redefined the computer of tomorrow.”

Through a sophisticated on-die power-control unit, and using new ‘power gate’ transistors based on Intel’s advanced 45 nanometre, high-k metal gate manufacturing process, Turbo Boost automatically adjusts the clock speed of one or more of the four individual processing cores for single- and multi-threaded applications to boost performance, without increasing power consumption.

The Core i7 also has the latest Intel power-saving technologies, allowing desktops to go into sleep states formerly reserved for Intel-based notebooks.

The Core i7 processor more than doubles the memory bandwidth of previous Intel ‘Extreme’ platforms, speeding the transfer of computer bits and bytes in and out of the processor with Intel Quickpath Technology.

Designed with Intel’s Hyper-Threading Technology, the processor also allows multiple computing threads to run simultaneously, effectively enabling it to do two things at once. As a result, the Core i7 quad-core processor delivers 8-threaded performance.

Intel said that server and mobile product versions will soon be in production.

Each Core i7 processor features an 8 MB level 3 cache and three channels of DDR3 1066 memory to deliver the best memory performance of any desktop platform.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: no speed limits in sight for Intel, which has delivered the fastest desktop processor ever, the Core i7

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years