Eliminating the FSB
By eliminating the FSB, Intel can also add more features onto the chip itself. For now, Nehalem chips will be built on the company's 45-nanometer manufacturing process before Intel switches to a 32-nm process in 2009. The shrinking of the die will also increase the performance of the chips.The name of this extreme chip, the Intel Core i7, will separate it from Intel's other high-end, quad-core processors such as the QX9775. (Maximum PC claimed to have built a desktop using a Nehalem chip Aug. 6. The result can be seen here.) "It is simply a means of separating the new and improved high-end desktop processor brand from other existing processor brands and from future brands, which will be announced later," said an Intel spokesperson, referring to the Core i7 name. "It represents a collection of factors and highlights unique features including performance and other features." After the first wave of Nehalem chips hit this part of the market, Intel will likely bring out processors for single-socket server systems and workstations before entering the mainstream desktop market. In the middle of 2009, Intel is expected to offer the first Nehalem chips for notebooks as part of an upgraded Centrino platform. Intel is withholding some facets of the Nehalem chip, including specific clock speeds-some Web sites claim an initial speed of 2.93GHz-and prices for the processors. Pat Gelsinger, Intel's senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group, is expected to offer more details at the IDF show in San Francisco, which starts Aug. 19. In addition to its latest chip technology, Gelsinger is expected to talk about new graphics updates as well. Intel offered new details on its Larrabee chip Aug. 4, which will offer a new type of discrete graphics built on x86 cores, and Nehalem will have the ability to integrate a graphics core into the processor itself.
It should come as no surprise that Intel is bringing Nehalem into the gaming and enthusiast space first before the mainstream. The customers in this part of the market want the latest and greatest processors available and it allows Intel to gauge their response before brining more chips into the mainstream market.