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Episode 4: Intel Processors and the Comparison – Show Notes

  1. What special features are there for Intel processors?
    1. Turbo Boost
    2. QPI -  QPI stands for QuickPath Interconnect
    3. Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology
  2. Features by processor types and where are they common

    1. Atom
      1. Small Form Factor CPU Package
      2. Low TDP and power consumption
      3. Integrated 2-chip solution combining CPU and graphics
      4. Enhanced Data Prefetcher and Enhanced Register Access Manager
      5. Typically found in Netbooks, laptops, starting to be in cell phones, and extreme low-budget machines
      6. Netbook Version
        1. 1st gen was 1.6GHz, 2nd gen went to 1.66GHz
        2. single core, but 2 threads
      7. Desktop version
        1. PCI-E
        2. DDR2 RAM
        3. Single and Dual Core versions
    2. Xeon – Server designed processors
    3. Core2
    4. i3 – low end processor
      1. Hyperthreading, but no Turbo Boost
    5. i5 – mid range processor
      1. Turbo Boost and Hyperthreading
      2. Clarkdale core – part of the Westmere family (has a mobile equivalent – Arrandale)
        1. 32nm
        2. < 90 watts TDP
        3. socket LGA1156
        4. Dual Channel DDR3/1333
        5. dual cores
        6. 4MB L3
        7. 3.2 GHz to 3.46GHz
        8. GPU has been moved inside the CPU
        9. This means all of the following are inside: PCIE I/O. MISC I/O, Memory I/O, PCIE and Memory Controller
        10. Drawbacks – with all this inside the CPU, the memory bandwidth dropped by 25% to 30% and this is likely due to the fact that both graphics memory and CPU memory are sharing a memory controller now
    6. i7 – high end processor
      1. Typically has increased cache size to boost performance – currently seem to be set at 2MB per core
  3. News: Intel gulftown is on sale now!!! This is the Intel® Core™ i7-980X Processor Extreme Edition (12M Cache, 3.33 GHz, 6.40 GT/s Intel® QPI) for only $1000 or $167 per core. It has 6 cores, so can handle 12 threads.
    1. Currently max memory size capable is 24 GB @ 25.6 GB/s
    2. DDR3 – 1066 non-ECC memory
    3. 3 memory channels
    4. only 130W TDP!
    5. socket LGA 1366
    6. 32nm manufacturing tech – 1.17 billion transistors (compared to its 45nm 975x cousin 731 million)
    7. based on the Westmere architecture family
    8. if a single thread is being used boost core by 266MHz and if it is only just a single core at 133 MHz
    9. some have already overclocked to 4GHz using only air cooling
    10. why did Intel only bump the number by 5 and also not the i7 to i9? They have been receiving criticism on their naming scheme and so have decided to only increment the number by 5 since they see it as a small step forward in performance from the 975x
  4. To the future
    1. Grebog’s Predictions
      1. The clock speed will likely increase only a little more compared to the race that happen after breaking the 1GHz and I think it will climb into 4GHz, but not surpass 5GHz without a major break through
      2. We will see core numbers continue to increase with the only delays being the manufacturer in wanting to strike out on the consumer side (server and enterprise they are already gearing up for 46 cores)
      3. Efficiency will likely see greatest increases
The BEAT DOWN – aka comparison
So, who is better and why?
Right now in benchmark test it shows Intel beating the crap out of AMD. In the benchmarks the Intel i7 out perform AMD Phenom II X4 processors by a large margin. As the benchmarks continued testing also showed that the i5s were about the same as the Phenom X4 or just a little better, even on the new Clarkdale i5 661 dual core was only a little less in perfomance than the Phenom II X4. The Athlon II X4 was on the bottom of this comparison listing of even i5 dual cores, which is just sad that AMD has sunk so low.

AMD still beats its Intel counterparts in price hands down. You can get a $99 quad core from AMD while you will likely need to pay $149 for an Intel Core2 Quad that has been out since March 2008.


Posted in Hardware, Processors, Show Notes.

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