Published in Processors

Details of Intel's Foxhollow platform emerge

by on28 November 2007

Scheduled for a 2H 2009 launch

More information about Intel's upcoming Foxhollow platform has been brought to light by Impress, and Intel will start sampling this new platform sometime in Q3 2008. As Intel is moving away from single core processors, even its entry level parts will feature two cores.

The Foxhollow platform is quite different from the Thurley UP platform, which will be the first consumer platform for the Nehalem-based Bloomfield core. For starters, it relies on a single chipset or as Intel prefers it, a Platform Controller Hub (or a PCH) and the code name for this chipset is Ibexpeak.

Since Intel will have moved the memory controller and the integrated graphics into the CPU by now, there's no longer any need for an MCH and an ICH, so Intel has simplified its chipset design to keep costs down in the entry-level and mainstream segments. The chipset interfaces with the CPU via Intel's aging DMI interconnect, which seems quite odd at first, but when you consider that the PCIe 2.0 controller is built into the CPU, this might not be an issue.

The PCH will house things like eight PCIe lanes, support for up to four PCI slots, the Gigabit Ethernet MAC, display interface controllers, I/O controllers, RAID and SATA controllers, USB 2.0 controller etc. This is pretty much what the ICH is doing today bar a few exceptions, such as the display interface controller. The reason why this is in the chipset and not in the CPU is because it has to physically connect to the ports on the motherboard.

If you've had a look at the picture we've linked to below, you'll notice that it says Havendale/Auburndale; well, the Auburndale is apparently a mobile version of the Havendale core. These entry level CPUs will have two cores, 4MB of shared cache, a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller and, of course, Intel's integrated graphics. Intel claims that they'll have improved their integrated graphics performance by ten times by the time these CPUs launch and it will be interesting to see if they can meet their own goal.

You can find a diagram of the Ibexpeak PCH and the Havendale CPU here
Last modified on 29 November 2007
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