Published in Processors

All Nehalems not created equal

by on28 November 2007

Three different versions for different markets

According to a news post on Impress, Intel will have three different desktop CPUs based on its upcoming Nehalem core, which should arrive sometime late next year. The initial version is the Bloomfield core, which is the one Intel hyped at IDF, but this is the top of the line model and it will be expensive to make.

This is why Intel has two bargain basement priced versions which will launch in 2009, and they're quite different from the Bloomfield core. Bloomfield features four cores, triple-channel DDR3 memory, Quick Path Interconnect and a chipset design that doesn't look very different from what you see on high-end motherboards for AMD processors today.

The Tylersburg chipset is paired up with ICH-10 and it supports a pair of x16 PCIe 2.0 slots. Intel has renamed the MCH (Memory Controller Hub) to IOH or I/O Hub. The significance of this is that there's not much to it, just as with current AMD chipsets, as Intel is moving the memory controller into the CPU.

The mainstream part will be called Lynnfield and although it doesn't arrive until the 2H of 2009, according to current roadmaps, this will most likely be the most popular choice for those looking at getting a bit more value for their money. It still has four cores, but only features a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller. The CPU will also include an integrated PCIe 2.0 controller, which limits it to use with a single graphics card.

The chipset this time around is called Ibexpeak and has yet another new designation from Intel:  PCH, or Platform Controller Hub, and this is a single chip solution. It doesn't rely on Intel's Quick Path Interconnect, as instead it's using Intel's aging DMI chipset interconnect, which seems rather odd. Ibexpeak is also compatible with the Havendale core.

The Havendale core will be Intel's first CPU to feature integrated graphics, but it supports a PCIe 2.0 interface, as well. Havendale is only a dual core part and it will be Intel's entry level Nehalem-based CPU. Both the Lynnfield and Havendale CPUs will use a different socket to the Bloomfield core, as they use an LGA 1160 configuration compared to an LGA 1366 layout on the Bloomfield core.

You can find a diagram of the three CPU cores here
Last modified on 29 November 2007
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