Intel Nehalem Microprocessor Details Come to Life

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2008-08-20 Print this article Print

Intel reveals the architectural details of its next-generation Intel Nehalem microprocessor, now known as Intel Core i7, and with it some twists on the classic x86 architecture.

Intel revealed the architectural details Aug. 20 of its next-generation Intel "Nehalem," now known as Intel Core i7, and with it some twists on the classic x86 architecture.

One of the key goals of Nehalem was to make the architecture scalable, in two very different ways. The pieces of Nehalem are broken into two main components, which the company is calling the core and the "uncore." The core is what you'd expect, containing all the computational units, branch prediction and registers, plus the Level 1 and L2 caches.

Some of the other advances like an integrated memory controller and a shared L3 cache first appeared on the AMD Phenom.

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Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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