On-package GPU and Graphics Turbo

Arrandale and Clarkdale are two-die packages. There's the 32nm CPU die and next to it is a 45nm DirectX 10 GPU die (no DX11 support until possibly Larrabee).

This isn't Larrabee (yet), it's a direct descendent of the graphics in G45. While G45 was built on a 65nm process, the 'dale graphics is built on a 45nm process.

The smaller transistors enable much higher performance. While G45 had 10 shader cores, the 'dale GPU increases that to 12. A number of performance limiting issues have now been resolved, so we should see much more competitive performance from Intel's graphics.

The memory controller has been moved off of the CPU die and is on the GPU die instead. It's still on-package so you get decently low latencies, but it shouldn't technically be as low as on Lynnfield. This is a temporary problem that fixes itself once the CPU/GPU are on the same die with Sandy Bridge.


Sandy Bridge brings on-die graphics

I've already explained turbo mode quite a bit so I won't rehash it here. The technology basically allows you to run your CPU at the fastest possible frequency regardless of how many cores are active. Westmere has this.

Arrandale will support graphics turbo modes, while Clarkdale won't. Clarkdale graphics is already running as fast as possible regardless of TDP.

If the GPU demand is higher than the CPU demand, the CPU will allocate more of its TDP to the GPU and vice versa.

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  • Ryun - Thursday, September 24, 2009 - link

    That Cinebench score doesn't look that great, though I don't know the price of Clarkdale (would this fit into the ~$50-$100 bracket?). Otherwise, I'm excited to see these processors bring on more mini-itx proliferation and they look very capable processors.

    It's a good thing AMD has something to combat these processors in the form of it's Athlon II X4 line. Otherwise I'd say these, not Lynnfield or Bloomfield, would be the nail in the coffin for them.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, September 24, 2009 - link

    So to summarize the Intel options for buyers: Basically Intel is going to offer the new 32nm process for super-high-end 6core setups and for HTPC-level dual-core budget systems, but the average gamer and enthusiast who just wants a middle-of-the-road, solid, high-performing cpu is going to be limited to 45nm Lynnfield P55 or an aging i7 920 on an X58 board? Reply
  • tim851 - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    I'd reckon, that the entry level 6-core will be at the i7 920's price point, so that will be your sweet-spot CPU.

    Intel is probably pushing the Quads in the 100-200$ price segment and the Dual Cores below 100$.
    Reply
  • vshin - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    Gulftown will start at $1k. Lynnfield will be the only Intel option for the budget gamer market segment (<$250 CPU, <$250 video card, no SLI) until Sandy Bridge. Stay away from the X58 platform, it's a dead-end money pit. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    I reckon you need to put down the crack pipe :D There's no way Gulftown will be ~$300. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    Not only that but that would require an X58 platform. What if you're running a P55? No 32nm love with more than 2 cores until late 2010 if at all? :( Reply
  • archcommus - Friday, September 25, 2009 - link

    I agree as well. Although I'm not looking to upgrade right now anyway, I, like many others here I'm sure, have a Q6600 right now. I would want my next CPU to be a quad core with HT, preferrably 32nm, and have all the latest features like turbo mode and the on-die PCIe and memory controllers. Right now that option doesn't exist. If Westmere won't have a quad core option I guess we're just waiting for a Lynnfield die shrink. Reply
  • srue - Thursday, September 24, 2009 - link

    I agree. I just want a 32nm Lynnfield. Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, September 24, 2009 - link

    Poor wording. Should replace "middle of the road" with "enthusiast overclocking system" because that's what I meant. I mean the type of CPU that's under $300 but more than 2 cores - what we've been building for the past couple years - there won't be a 32nm die shrink until SandyBridge and even then it will have more on the die than just a CPU.

    So for those of us building a gaming rig, who would rather not pay for an extra GPU or whatever on the die that we'd just end up disabling because we have a separate NVidia/AMD GPU on the PCIe bus, there is no 32nm die shrink on the horizon aside from a 6-core X58 chip?
    Reply
  • jonGhast - Thursday, September 24, 2009 - link

    There are some rumblings that we might see bloomfield and lynnfield get 32nm shrinks around the middle of next year.

    No evidence or links but it's possible.
    Reply

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