Intel Releases First Core i5 Processors
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Intel today expanded its Nehalem family with the release of the "Lynnfield" family of high-end desktop and low-end server processors. They will be sold under the Core i7, Core i5 and Xeon 3400 brand names.
The Lynnfield line replaces Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) older Bloomfield and Gainestown lines of high-end desktops and low-end servers. While they are all processors of the Nehalem generation, Lynnfield lacks the QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) high-speed interconnect that's in Bloomfield and Gainestown and uses a different socket.
Also, the Core i5 branded processors will not have the hyperthreading found in the Core i7 and Xeon processors. Nehalem processors had featured the return of hyperthreading, the ability to run two threads per core. To Windows, a quad-core hyperthreaded CPU looks like eight cores.
These new processors are aimed at the high-end desktop market for tasks like digital media, productivity, high-performance gaming and other processor-intensive applications. They also have a new chipset, the P55 Express, to support the new chip.
Instead of QPI, the Core i5 uses an older interface, called Direct Media Interface (DMI), which connects the processor and chipset. DMI had previously been used on the northbridge chip, but that chip's functions have been moved to the processor.
The chipset supports dual graphics cards, a first for integrated chipsets. It also supports six SATA ports with RAID levels 0/1/5/10 and up to 14 USB 2.0 ports.
The new Core i7 and i5 processors are the first Intel processors to integrate both a 16-lane PCI Express 2 graphics port and a two-channel memory controller, enabling all I/O and manageability functions to be handled by the single chip Intel P55 Express Chipset. Previous Intel chipsets required two separate chips.
On the server side, the Xeon 3400 includes one low-power processor, the 1.86Ghz, 45-watt L3426, and then a lineup of 75-watt parts ranging from 2.40GHz to 2.93GHz.
This processor is aimed at single-socket servers doing modest tasks like running e-mail, file, print, and dynamic Web serving. Intel claims a 64-percent improvement in sales transactions and up to 56 percent faster business response time from prior generation Xeon 3x00 chips.
Lynnfield chips are available from Intel now and will debut from OEM partners shortly.