As the tech world waits with abated breath for Intel's Nehalem architecture to crash the Core 2 party, we still don't know what name to put on the banners, but we might have a pretty good idea. It's not yet official, but according to the latest rumor, Intel will dub its newfangled Nehalem as Core i7, which would put to rest any speculation that the chip maker might drop the 'Core' designation in its new nomenclature.
For anyone that hasn't been reading Maximum PC on a regular basis (shame on you) or who have been living under a rock (you get a free pass), Nehalem is Intel's next big processor microarchitecture, representing the 'tock' in the company's tick-tock update cycle. Along with tri-channel DDR3 support, Nehalem will usher in Intel's move to an integrated memory controller and finally do away with the crowded front-side bus. Gordon Mah Ung covered the architecture in detail last week, and while you're brushing up on the nuances of Nehalem, be sure and check out what the first Nehalem system looks like.
Getting back to the naming scheme, we'll have to wait until hearing official word, but in the meantime, speculation is welcome. Do you like the rumored name change?
It’s the worst kept secret in the industry: Intel’s next-generation Penryn killer, codenamed Nehalem is just around the corner. We’ve been seeing leaked benchmarks based on early silicon for months, and Nehalem’s Wikipedia page is already packed with unconfirmed specifications. All indications – and this is with more optimizations to come, mind you – is that Nehalem may be a bad mother worthy of having Isaac Hayes pound out a theme song for it.
OK, we get it. It’s going to be fast, but just how difficult is it to build a Nehalem rig? What are the catches? Will the new motherboard and socket require some silly new BTX form factor? To find out, we convinced one of our hardware contacts (who’ll remain unnamed) to let us into its lab so we could finally get our hands on the new chip. There, we were provided with the desktop version of Nehalem – called Bloomfield – and an Intel D58XSO “Smackover” board.
Read on to see how we built the Nehalem rig, and what surprises we encountered along the way!
Having already moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, Nvidia presumably has solved whatever problem led to an "abnormal failure rate" in the what the company still contends only affects a limited batch of previous generation GPU and MCP products. Exactly how limited that batch is might never be fully disclosed, but it appears the problem may be more widespread than consumers were led to believe.
Just over a week ago Dell made available a list of its notebooks that could possibly be affected by the GPUs believed to be suffering higher than expected failure rates and is recommending owners update their BIOS to reduce their risk of running into a problem. The updated BIOSes modify the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations, but as Dell notes, the new parameters won't help customers who are already suffering video-related issues.
Dell isn't alone, and now HP has also released a list of models that qualify for 'Warranty Service Enhancement' (curiously absent is the DV97xx series). And like Dell, HP is also recommending its owners update their BIOS as a preventive measure.
So are all G84 and G86 parts bad like The Inq surmised early in July? No one but Nvidia knows for sure, but looking over the list of affected models would seem to indicate the allegation could hold some merit.
Did Nvidia drop the ball harder than they're letting on?
AMD's acquisition of graphics chip maker ATI continues to be a sour point whenever the company talks about its finances, most recently coming up when AMD said it would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. Given AMD's financial status, it's easy to criticize the company's decision to overpay for a company that has yet to benefit impatient investors. That could change if AMD's Fusion ends up revolutionizing the PC landscape.
Up to this point, AMD hasn't gone into specifics regarding its upcoming CPU+GPU chip, but according to TGDaily, industry sources aren't being as tight-lipped. If the rumblings are to be believed, the first Fusion processor (code-named Shrike) will consist of a dual-core Phenom CPU and an ATI RV800 GPU core, Previous rumors had the first run Fusion chips built around a dual-core Kuma CPU and RV710 graphics chip, but those plans appear to have gone by the wayside as AMD has had more time to develop a low-end RV800-based core.
The sources also indicate that Fusion will likely be introduced as a half-node chip built around a 40nm manufacturing process, and will later move to 32nm, possibly by the beginning of 2010.
Social networking site Facebook finds itself needing to update its data center infrastructure to support new media applications, and Intel will be the one to help them do it. The two companies on Thursday announced a joint agreement that will see Facebook use "thousands" of Xeon 5400 quad-core processors built on a 45nm manufacturing process.
More than just hardware support, Intel will also work with Facebook to optimize its software for use with the bevy of Xeon chips, giving extra focus to making the software take advantage of the additional processor cores. Moreover, Intel will look to send a message that its microarchitecture can support the massive data centers that will support cloud-computing infrastructures.
"It's a big win for Intel in the general category of web infrastructure and by that I mean categories like cloud computing," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Facebook has a large computing infrastructure that delivers these types of web services on demand and it requires the same level of service and infrastructure as a cloud-computing provider."
Facebook wouldn't comment on which OEMs would build the new servers, but according to eWeek, multiple sources have confirmed Dell and HP would be involved.
Intel just passed its 40th anniversary and the nostalgic occasion had CTO Justin Rattner musing about the future of technology. He foresees new breakthroughs in medical technologies, specifically with regards to nanoscale chips capable of moving through our bodies. Additionally, he predicts more realistic robotic intelligence, and a blurring of reality between humans and machines. Chuckle if you may, but in his 35 years at Intel, Rattner has witnessed some pretty amazing advances in technology, many of which Intel was at the forefront of. When the microprocessors first debuted in 1971 they contained about 2,300 transistors. It has since ballooned to over 820 million and the personal computer has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives.If Moore’s law holds true, and we have no reason to think otherwise, the future may indeed be a very different reality from what we understand today. According to Rattner, “In the next 40 years, computer chips will extend beyond our computers and phones, as people want to become more entrenched in virtual worlds and computers learn to react to our motions and thoughts.”
So what do you think the future holds? Hit the jump and let us know!
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Intel can not only lay claim as the current king of chip technology, but its upcoming Nehalem microarchitecture looks poised to keep the silicon studs on top of the competition well into 2009. AMD has yet to threaten Intel's position ever since Conroe, and while the company remains confident under Dirk Meyer as the new head honcho, it's still playing catch up to Intel's 45nm technology.
The situation gets a little more competitive when switching from CPUs to GPUs, and according to Tomshardware, sources at both ATI and Nvidia are saying they will each have a 40nm GPU manufacturing process by the first half of 2009, possibly to be unveiled at next year's CeBit.
Assuming either company meets their target, the accomplishment will unseat Intel as the technological leader in terms of the smallest chip structures, even if only for a short time. The road won't stop at Nehalem and Intel is already busy developing 32nm CPUs, which many expect to be shown off in prototype form at the company's spring development forum in H1 2009. Volume shipments could come as early as Q3 next year.
Even so, if 40nm GPUs materialize as reported, it will mark the first time GPUs will overtake CPUS in terms of production nodes. That won't necessarily make it a better chip, but you can expect plenty of fanfare should Nvidia and/or ATI dethrone the silicon king.
We’ve been calling Intel’s next-generation CPU family code-named Nehalem a Penryn-killer because, sadly, AMD’s best and brightest have hardly been that. For those who haven’t sifted the sands of the Internet, and picked the brains of OEM’s and hardware vendors for every detail of Intel’s next-gen microarchitecture, here’s your quick primer on Nehalem that’ll make you big man on campus at the next geekfest.
How Many Cores?
Most Nehalem’s will be native quad-core with all four compute cores on the same physical die. Intel says that the design of Nehalem will also let the company build an eight-core version, codenamed Beckton, for servers. Intel also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a multi-chip version so could perhaps see a double-die Beckton with 16 cores as well.
An improved version of HyperThreading will find its way into the core of Nehalem. This improved simultaneous multi-threading, or SMT, will let the OS see a quad-core chip as eight cores. Although some still debate its merit, the implementation of HT in the Pentium 4 generally added 15 percent more performance in multi-threaded applications.
"These benchmark results are the latest evidence of the clear value that Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors offer an Internet business - or any data center that requires the ultimate i performance, reliability, and power efficiency," said Patrick Patla, AMD's general manager of Server and Workstation Business.
The press release makes no mention of who or where the benchmarks were ran, but did say an HP ProLiant DL385 G5 server equipped with two Opteron 2356 processors scored 30,007, while an HP ProLiant DL585 G5 server running two 8356 processors posted a score of 43,854.