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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Details on Intel's Core Brand Product Placement Emerge, Gulftown to be Named Core i9

Last week, Intel sketched out its strategy in dealing with its client processor brand Core, and placing its different kinds of processors in series of markers (such as "i3", "i5", and "i7"), on the merit of performance and features they offer, and not necessarily a segregation based on core type and socket type. This raised a big debate in our forums, on who is really going to benefit from this kind of branding.

Chinese website sourced information which explains what factors go into determining which brand marker a processor gets. The table elaborates on how different kinds of Intel Processor (determined by core and socket types) cross different lines, with a few features toggled or enhanced. It is sure to throw up some surprises.

Intel may rebadge existing Wolfdale, Yorkfield, and Penryn Mobile chips into Core i3
As bizarre as it seems, it looks like existing Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors are bound for a new name tag, under Core i3. The processors will form Intel's value offerings, since they compare to the lower-end derivatives of the Nehalem architecture. At this point in time, we don't know if (and don't expect) higher-end Wolfdale and Yorkfield models to make it to this series, but rather the lower-end Core 2 Duo E7000, E8000, Core 2 Quad Q8000, Q9x00, etc. to do so, as they make the most market sense with Nehalem and Westmere derivatives higher up the order. The processors will continue to be driven by existing chipsets by Intel, which include members of Intel 3-series and 4-series.

Arrandale as Core i3, Clarkdale as Core i5
Intel thinks its desktop dual-core Westmere derivative Clarkdale is faster and more capable than its mobile cousin Arrandale. This could be because traditionally, mobile CPUs trade off clock-speeds for energy efficiency, and make up to an extant with large caches. The Clarksfield quad-core mobile chip will get the Core i7 marker. It will come in two distinct flavours, with L3 cache sizes of 6 MB and 8 MB.

Lynnfield in Core i5 and Core i7
This comes as no surprise since Intel's marketing heads had already made it clear that Lynnfield would span across two brand markers. The determining factors, seem to be HyperThreading technology, and perhaps clock speeds. The Core i7 Lynnfield chip has HyperThreading technology available as a feature, and may have higher clock-speeds. The first wave of Lynnfield chips that release in Q3 2009, will be only of the Core i5 kind, while the performance Core i7 ones will follow months later, in Q1 2010.

Say hello to Core i9
Intel's upcoming flagship client processor, codenamed Gulftown will get the higher Core i9 marker. This 6-core chip will have every performance enhancing feature in the book available, including a total thread count of 12, and a 50% increase in L3 cache over Bloomfield, at 12 MB. It will retain compatibility with the existing LGA-1366 socket, and X58 chipset, and will be available in Q1 2010.

Source: INPAI


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