Not One Nehalem, but Two

Nehalem itself is very stable but it has only been in Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer hands for a relatively short while now, so the only truly mature motherboards are made by Intel. Unfortunately since Intel didn't sanction our little Nehalem excursion, we were left with little more than access to some early X58 based motherboards in Taiwan. Thankfully we had two setups to play with, each for a very limited time.

We had access to a 2.66GHz Nehalem for the longest time, unfortunately the motherboard it was paired with had some serious issues with memory performance. Not only was there no difference between single and triple channel memory configurations, memory latency was high. We know this was a board specific issue since our second Nehalem platform didn't exhibit any issues. Unfortunately we didn't have access to the more mature platform for very long at all, meaning the majority of our tests had to be run on the first setup (never fear, Nehalem is fast enough that it didn't end up mattering).

The second issue we ran into was a PCI Express problem that kept us from running any meaningful GPU benchmarks. We've been told that it'll take the motherboard guys about a month to work out these kinks, but that's why you shouldn't expect to see a full performance evaluation of Nehalem in the near term.

The CPUs are quite mature and are running extremely cool (surprisingly cool actually), their clock speeds are being artificially limited by Intel in order to avoid putting all cards on the table at this time. We saw a similar approach with the very first Penryn samples which were all locked at 2.66GHz. The Intel X58 chipset we used in our testing on the other hand got quite hot.


Nehalem no longer has a conventional FSB, its clock speed is derived from a multiplier of an external clock frequency - in this case 133MHz. Expect all Nehalem chips to come out in frequencies that are multiples of 133MHz.

Thankfully we don't want a thorough look at Nehalem today, we'll save that for the launch - what we do want is to whet our appetite. We want to know if Intel can pull it off a second time.

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  • SiliconDoc - Monday, July 28, 2008 - link

    Oh yeah, and we're getting the knocked down lesser pins version probably, though not set in stone they won't be able to resist bending us all over and making all the massive die and tool and cuting restructurings required to pump out the lesser pinned models... while they tell us "it's cost effective" ( means they can charge 18 different rates and swirl the markets in confusion and gigantic price differences for mere few percentage performance differences).
    They sure have a lot of time to diggle around with it all, don't they- and a lot of capacity, a lot of marketers, a lot of board makers/changers...
    Oh gawd it's a multi-tentacled monster... just realize they had their group megaspam session and have figured the most confusing, confounding, and master profiteering into it all. It's got nothing to do with practicality or delivering us the performance we desire. NOTHING.
    Reply
  • gochichi - Friday, June 06, 2008 - link

    Someone mentioned the breaking laws in the past (intel did).

    Just look at the distress that AMD is under. While they had the superior products, they couldn't make deals with Dell and so on. As soon as they were finally able to make deals fairly, Intel obliterated them on performance.

    So while they should have been piling up an R&D fund during their "crown years" they hardly grew. To the extent that even thought their CPUs are not competitive they are still growing in overall market share.

    I gotta balance my desire for performance now, and my ongoing desire for performance. I can't imagine how having AMD wiped out would be good for the long term. Performance is moving up surely enough but why can't we have the full rate of improvement? I mean, lets stop poluting the world with obsolete brand new equipment. I think the legal battle between Intel and AMD prevents Intel from eliminating AMD. The more they beat up on AMD, the higher the damages of their breaking the law and the higher the penalty for Intel.

    I think AMD can make a strong comeback though. They had a sloppy start with the AMD-ATI merger but ATI is actually not far at all from NVIDIA in terms of design and performance. These pendulums do swing, and perhaps AMDs chips will be better next time. I think the price-point wars are the most important. If you can deliver a nice quad-core or 3x core for about $100.00 you're gonna be in business or at least have market share.

    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Friday, June 06, 2008 - link

    Giving a company incentives to exclusively sell your products is not a violation of any law. Aka, is E.A. Sports in violation of the law by signing an exclusive contract with the NFLPA ? No. How many GM dealers sell more than GM lines of cars? Not many... There are many other reasons to be excluse besides a "monopoly deal".

    Were Dell customers complaining about not having the choice of AMD processors? Not enough of them, clearly. You think for a second Dell would lose market share for Intel? Sorry, the answer is Hell No.

    When AMD did have a strong processor lineup, they also hit manufacturing capacity walls.... Quite simply, AMD does not have the capacity to fill Intel's market share. Its not like there were AMD processors on the shelves because Dell was exclusively Intel...

    Intel has more Fabs. Fabs don't get built overnight to meet demand... Now, AMD has inferior products and a couple more Fabs... Too little too late as they say...
    Reply
  • hs635 - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - link

    Get aids and die painfully cunt Reply
  • Justin Case - Sunday, June 08, 2008 - link

    [quote]Giving a company incentives to exclusively sell your products is not a violation of any law.[/quote]

    Actually, it is, if you control more than a certain share (typically 50%) of the market.

    You can give volume discounts but you cannot make the cost depend on what other products your client sells.

    If you're under that "critical" market share, you can do pretty much anything you want. Above it, the rules change (and there are very good reasons for that, as anyone who's studied macroeconomy knows).

    There's really no need to come up with "examples" or ill-fitting "analogies". That's just the way the law is, and everyone who studied trade law knows that (including Intel's legal department). They've already been fined in Korea, they're on their way to being fined in the EU and Japan, and they'll probably be fined in the US too.

    Unless they bribe the right people like Microsoft did, of course.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Monday, July 28, 2008 - link

    I caught a couple articles on how Nvidia was hammering vendors for price structures - and how they were going to do it, a bit ahead of time of when it hit. Yeah, it hit, I saw it, eggs (hint) were broken all over the place.
    It's a kind of tyranny... lol
    Uhh, thank computers I guess, since they've made everything like that so easy to track and enforce ("private" enforcement not law enforcement)...
    Expect a lot more of it, too. Everything moves so fast in business, and courts move so slowly.
    Reply
  • The Zerg - Friday, June 06, 2008 - link

    Guys... here's an example of bad luck, bad tech or both:

    I work in a corporation. A very large one, the largest in a specific industry.
    We use Intel-based CPUs. Worldwide.
    My Centrino (in its Dell Latitude incarnation) died two days ago (causes unknown - and this caused a lot of trouble). Be sure that I had some nice words for Intel in that moment.
    I use AMD at home (it was the best bang for the buck at that time). One week ago (and Hell YES, this is the bare truth) my ASUS motherboard died, together with an Athlon 3500+.
    See? Nobody's perfect. Maybe 2 strong CPU players (makers) are better than just one. Maybe I will not use an ASUS motherboard next time, because I have another 3-4 serious options...
    For the AMD/Intel fans: I am a Canon fan, but I really respect Nikon, Leica and Sony for their outstanding products. And: I can buy a 1Ds Mark III, but I currently own a 40D - "because I can 95% of the games with it"
    And there is never too little too late for a World Press Photo award :)
    Reply
  • Barack Obama - Friday, June 06, 2008 - link

    Nehalem is looking to be beastly good. Let's see if it can combo well with Windows 7 and its multi-touch capabilities. Reply
  • Egglick - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Here is my biggest question: Will these chips work with DDR2? In my opinion, DDR3 still isn't worth the price premium by a long shot. Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, June 06, 2008 - link

    This shouldn't be much of an issue by the time this thing ships for mainstream platforms ala LGA1160, sometime in Early-Mid 2009.

    DDR3 is still cost prohibitive now, your looking at about 2x as much for the same amount of memory. However in 6-9 months prices can change alot.


    Reply

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