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Intel talks 32nm Westmere

Four code names, high to low end
Tue Feb 10 2009, 20:50

INTEL IS STARTING to talk about the upcoming 32nm chips called Westmere. They are going to be a top-to-bottom family, everything from notebooks to 4S+ servers.

The new names you need to know are Gulftown, Clarksdale, Arrandale and Clarksfield. Gulftown is a six-core high-end desktop, the others are all two-core CPUs with integrated graphics. Gulftown and Clarksdale are desktop parts, Arrandale is mobile, and Clarksfield is a server part.

Probably the biggest thing is that Arrandale replaces the 45nm integrated parts with a 32nm core, but the GPU is still 45nm. While it still won't get out of its way, it is still the same mostly broken G45 core, you won't be able to get away from it. So far, there are no other ways to get a mobile part on 32nm.

Integrated graphics are all MCMs, with the two dies connected via QPI interconnects on package, and another QPI link off package. Since there is no way to access it or change it, this is basically a trivia game question answer.

All of the 32nm parts have seven new instructions, six of which are for crypto/AES acceleration, with the last one being a carryless multiply (PCLMULQDQ). They also sport two-channel DDR3, down from the three channel in the current 'extreme' type i7s.

Overall, it is about what you would expect. The CPUs are a little better, smaller, faster and more efficient. Pulling the graphics on die, and not giving any other option, signals the death of the chipset as, after the memory controller and graphics, there is precious little left.

Right on schedule. µ


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