Yonah Yonah Yonah

It sounds like it should be part of a song, but really, it's just the core name of Intel's most promising dual and single core approaches that will launch in Q1'06. Anand gets uncomfortably giddy whenever someone mentions Yonah, although some of the revelations like clock speed were a large letdown to us. Yonah is definitely something that we talk about a lot and the 65nm dual core processor based on an evolved Dothan is really exciting. Even with the letdown on clock speed, there are more SKUs than we had originally thought, which should make low end laptops and media centers really competitive on the low end. Media centers, you say? Yes, it looks like Pentium M finally does have some sanctioning by Intel for use outside of laptops and blades. The bold chipsets indicate discrete graphics only.

Intel Single Core Value Desktop Lineup LGA775

Chipset

FSB Clock

Memory Clock

Launch

955XM

667MHz

DDR2 667MHz

Q1'06

945GM

667MHz

DDR2 667MHz

Q1'06

945PM

667MHz

DDR2 667MHz

Q1'06

945GMS

667MHz

Single Channel

DDR2-533

Q2'06

940GML

533MHz

DDR2-400

Q2'06

915GM

533MHz

DDR2 533MHz

Soon

915PM

533MHz

DDR2 533MHz

Soon

915GMS

400MHz

Single Channel

DDR2 400MHz

Soon

910GML

400MHz

DDR2 400MHz

Soon


Intel is launching two chipsets dedicated specifically for small form factor notebooks and PCs; 915GMS (soon) and 945GMS (Q2'06). 915GMS utilizes single channel DDR2-400 and 400FSB, while the much more powerful 945GMS will use single channel DDR2-533 and a 667FSB. For laptops, avoiding dual channel memory isn't a bad idea, but judging by the performance increase that we saw when running Dothan on an 865PE motherboard using ASUS' adapter, Pentium M can certainly make use of additional memory bandwidth - compression, games, and workstation tasks all showed pretty significant performance increases. We got a small taste of Pentium M in the digital home at Computex this year with some demonstrations of 915GMS from manufacturers like Shuttle and Intel. Don't expect HTPCs all over to start using Pentium M in troves, but at least it's a win for those who enjoy Pentium M over Pentium 4 and Pentium D.

Intel's integration of 945 and 955 into the next generation Centrino platform (also known as Napa) will come in three main flavors (945GM, 945PM and 955XM) with 945GMS taking up the SFF route a quarter later. Napa gets all the function from each of the existing chipsets, but also adds iAMT to the Yonah processor, Vanderpool, 3945ABG wireless and Gigabit Ethernet. This all has us very excited until we caught a glimpse of the launch speeds and prices.

Intel Dual Core Mobile Lineup LGA775

Processor

Speed

L2 Cache

FSB

Launch

Cost

Pentium M x50

2.16GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$637

Pentium M x48 LV

1.66GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$316

Pentium M x40

2.0GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$423

Pentium M x38 LV

1.50GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$284

Pentium M x30

1.83GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$294

Pentium M x20

1.66GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q1'06

$241

Pentium M TDB

1.66GHz

2MB

667MHz

Q2'06

$209

Pentium M TDB LV

1.20GHz

2MB

533MHz

Q2'06

???

Pentium M TDB LV

1.06GHz

2MB

533MHz

Q2'06

???

Pentium M 780

2.26GHz

2MB

533MHz

Q2'05

$637

Pentium M 770

2.13GHz

2MB

533MHz

Now

$637


The new Yonah chips are denoted with an "x" in front of their product name because we do not know where they will fall into Intel's product naming yet - although 8xx or 9xx would be the best candidates. There are two surprises here, the first obviously being the low clock speed. We had expected a higher clock than the existing Pentium M chips, much in the same manner that Dothan is capable of higher speeds than the earlier Banias chips. However, just as Cedar Mill and Presler come with similar clock speeds to their 90nm predecessors, Yonah is initially slated to launch at about the same speeds as current Dothan parts. The clock ramp will surely come eventually, but don't expect phenomenal clock speeds particularly for a first generation. Intel claims that the TDP for 2.0GHz Yonah will be around 31W and 15W for the Low Voltage version.

As a dual core solution, Yonah is the most advanced (other than perhaps Itanium 2 Monticeto) solution that we have seen out of either AMD or Intel. This has a lot to do with the fact that Yonah isn't just two cores slapped together (notice that they share the same cache). It is being built from the ground up as a dual core solution, similar to how Banias was designed specifically with the goal of low power and mobility. We have high hopes that it will realize better performance scaling than some of the other Intel dual core chips. Here's where things take an interesting twist.

The second big surprise are the "TBD" (To Be Determined) chips. These are single core Yonahs. Since all the original documentation about Yonah claimed that the two cores were intertwined, our guess is just that the single core versions are identical to the dual core versions with a single core disabled. Given the added complexity of a second core, we wouldn't be surprised to find that the single core Yonahs will initially be composed of chips with one faulty core - rather than throw out the whole core, Intel can just deactivate the faulty half and sell it at a reduced price. We've been seeing this for quite a while with reduced cache versions of some processors, and it makes sense from a manufacturing and yield perspective. For $209, however, a single core 1.66GHz Yonah would have to have some pretty amazing performance increases over the existing Pentium M 740 and 735 that cost just over $200 today. It looks like we will find out a year from now.

Yonah has other endeavours as well, including a server variation on the chip (Sossaman) and Celeron M. Sossaman will begin to replace Low Voltage and Ultra Low Voltage versions of Xeon as early as Q1'06. Pentium M has already proven itself extremely valuable in the blade market, so dual core, dual processor configurations seemed almost inevitable. The first dual processor configurations of Sossaman are expected in Q2'06. Yonah already has some extremely interesting design features, but whether or not they scale to two or more processors is something that we definitely plan on exploring more in the future.

Celeron M for Yonah will have 1MB L2 cache and run at 533FSB. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Yonah Celeron M will utilize EIST. Details on Celeron M seem very sparse, but we do know that the new Celeron M lineup will start 4xx.

Desktop Roadmaps Continued The Server Side of Things
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  • Reflex - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    VT/Pacifica is a niche technology, that much is for certain. It will definatly help the server segment(imagine 4 'machine' clusters that are all running on the same hardware) and some enthusiasts may like it(although I bet most won't use it often to maximize performance), but its not going to take the world by storm or anything.

    As for Yonah and power savings, remember that the entire platform must be compared to comparable AMD solutions, not just the CPU. AMD builds most northbridge functions(memory controller being the obvious one) into thier CPU which saves a considerable amount of power, and allows single chip chipset solutions like nForce to be practical. Measuring power consumption of just the CPU's without the supporting platform is apples to oranges.
    Reply
  • StriderGT - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    And in order to be 100% precise :-) Dual OS natively is brought to x86 for the first time through these two technologies. The current solutions require emulation/software layer and thus exhibit higher overheads.

    The problem though lies in the fact that even dual cores under the same OS can not cope with heavy multitasking (eg two heavy applications) without a significant perf. penalty for both. So as correctly pointed in this site, its another thing to increase heavy multitasking performance and another to actually use those scenarios since the hit will be noticeable. The same logic applies even more exaggerated in the case of two OSes and their apps running concurrently... (and by that I do not mean Solitaire XP together with Opera for Linux; this is something even Vanderpool can do :-)
    Reply
  • StriderGT - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    #14 I totally agree with you, but that does not change the fact that VT/Pacifica is a niche feature at best (admins, testers etc) Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    StriderGT: Well dual OSes can be done right now with overhead; thats what VMware, UML and such are for. Part of the goal is to minimize overhead. VT nor Pacifica are limited to dual core CPUs by the way.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • StriderGT - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    I do not think that anyone besides administrators would need VT, let alone use such a thing. DualBoot seems bulky but its way faster and more robust. A real usage scenario would require you to boot in XP to play games reboot in Linux to surf or whatever, otherwise two OSes running together will impose a real overhead. So you only gain the few mins or secs between each boot and lose performacewise. Its more like look what dual cores can do feature than what most peole will do... Reply
  • cscpianoman - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    Interesting, but I would like to have a chart of AMD to the side. Is this coming tomorrow?

    Of all the chips Yonah looks the most promising and yet as I was glancing through it would be confined to certain applications. The energy requirements are stellar! I would love to see how AMD is going to compete.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    StriderGT: Actually I think VT is pretty neat. I run Linux on one machine and Windows for work. Putting both on the same computer would be really awesome.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • StriderGT - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    hope so 2 #9 :-) because otherwise we will stick to "virtualized" performance gains... Can u say Vanderpooled?!? A real show stopper for desktop users!

    BTW I forgot to give a thumbs up to intel engineers for their latest innovation. The dual core superglue.

    PS I think that marketing dep of intel devoured their last real engineers long ago. So now they meet apple and we get platformization en extremis... I love this buzzzzzzzzzzwordzzzzzzzz
    Reply
  • flatblastard - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    Sure hope AMD has their floatation devices handy. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - link

    Kensei: Ooops - fixed.

    Kristopher
    Reply

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