Tick-Tock: U R Doin it Right

Let’s check the stats; Conroe in July 2006, Penryn in October 2007, Nehalem in November 2008. That’s a tock, tick, and another tock, each about a year apart. Note that the cadence does appear to be slipping a bit, but we’ll see exactly when in 2009 we get Westmere before making any accusations.

The next tick is, as I just mentioned, Westmere. It’s a 32nm shrink of Nehalem, much like Penryn was a 45nm shrink of Conroe/Merom. And it’s due out in the fourth quarter of this year.

Yesterday, Intel demonstrated working versions of its 32nm processors in both desktops and notebooks. The notebook aspect of the demonstration is very important, which I’ll get to later. Both mobile and desktop versions of Westmere will be shipping from Intel in Q4.

Getting Complicated with Code Names

Nehalem is the overall name for Intel’s 45nm desktop/mobile/server product family. At the high end we have Bloomfield, which is the quad-core, eight-thread, Core i7 processor we all long for. That’s the only Nehalem derivative that’s launched thus far.

Segment Manufacturing Process Socket Processor Cores Threads Release Date
High End Desktop 45nm LGA-1366 Bloomfield 4 8 Q4 2008
Mainstream Desktop 45nm LGA-1156 Lynnfield 4 8 2H 2009
Mobile 45nm mPGA-989 Clarksfield 4 8 2H 2009
4S Server 45nm LGA-1567 Nehalem-EX 8 16 2H 2009
2S Server 45nm LGA-1366 Nehalem-EP 4 8 1H 2009
1S Server 45nm LGA-1156 Lynnfield 4 8 2H 2009


By the end of this year we’ll see Lynnfield and Clarksfield. These are both quad-core, eight-thread Nehalem processors but at lower TDPs and price points. They will fit into Intel’s unannounced LGA-1156 socket and only support two channels of DDR3 memory (compared to LGA-1366 and 3-channels with Core i7).

On the server side we’ll have Nehalem-EX, an 8-core, 16-thread version. Nehalem EP a 4-core, 8-thread version. And Lynnfield again for the entry level servers.

These are all 45nm parts and all due out by the end of this year.

Note that there’s one name missing: Havendale. Havendale was supposed to be a 2-core Lynnfield + on-chip graphics, perfect for notebooks and low end desktops where quad-core isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, Havendale got delayed until Q4 2009 with systems shipping in Q1 2010. That just happened to coincide with Intel’s 32nm ramp so a very significant decision was made: Havendale got scrapped.

Fat Pockets, Dense Cache, Bad Pun Enter the 32nm Lineup


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  • blyndy - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    Let me see if I've got this straight: in 2H'09 (I would actually bet Q3'09) we will finally see the Core i5 quads-cores (Lynnfield/Clarksfield) (on a new LGA-1156 socket), which should have been released in Dec'08.

    So the 45nm Core i5 quads will be the highest performing CPU available for LGA-1156, positioning above the 32nm Clarkdale/Arrandale dual-cores (the 'Core i5 Duo' maybe?) which arrive in Q4'09

    How do they indent to make the LGA-1366 platform have better overclockability, i7 and i5 are almost the same, are they going to actively prevent OC'ing on i5? that would be ridiculous.

    Somehow I don't think that the artificial socket segmentation will have a significant number of enthusiast herded into LGA-1366 to get the higher margin cash-cow that Intel has planned it to be.
  • Triple Omega - Sunday, February 15, 2009 - link

    Intel isn't going to artificially limit overclocking directly, but it is indirectly by redirecting the better chips to 1366. So the i7 CPU's will be cherry-picked versions of the i5's and thus will overclock better. Besides that the only socket with Extreme versions will be 1366.(Though that is a niche within a niche really) Reply
  • philosofool - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    Overclockers are a very small fraction of the market. I'm not even sure intel is thinking about overclockability when they engineer chips. Overclockability is more an artefact of good engineering than a design goal from the outset. Overclockers are always paranoid that intel or AMD is out to get them by intentionally crippling chips. There just aren't enough of us for Intel to be concerned. We're like 1% of the total CPU market.

    Pretty much every chip that intel has released at any price point since the introduction of Core 2 has been wonderfully overclockable. I wouldn't worry that Intel is going to change that soon, especially since Core i5 is basically just mainstream processor with the same design fundamentals as the excellent i7.
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    Although I understand it's a hobby, I don't care if people can overclock or not. As long as we have fast chips at a good price and they're faster than what we have...I mean, why would you care? Isn't it all about SPEED? Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    i5 probably won't have an extreme version. Reply
  • Bezado11 - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    I wouldn't be surprised if the opposite was true. I'm really sick of all the hype on shrinking creates less heat. Look at the gpu industry, ever since they started shrinking things got hotter and hotter, and now it seems with i7 even though it's not a die shrink and we are use to 45nm by now, the new hardware to support minor changes in architecture of the cpu seem to make things run hotter.

    I7 is way to hot. The newest GPU's run way to hot.
  • Lightnix - Thursday, February 12, 2009 - link

    But you're making an unfair comparison - for example, the current latest GPUs have only been produced on the newest nodes, ever. Now, if we take for example, a Radeon 3870 vs. a Radeon 2900 XT, the former draws far less power and will overclock better on air, almost directly as a result of them shrinking from a 80nm to a 55nm process, despite them performing exactly the same. Another example is the Core 2 E8000 series and E6000 series. Despite the increase in cache size, the E8000 dissipates little enough heat that they can provide them with a very tiny heatsink compared to the earlier 65nm cores, and objectively they draw much less power at the same clock speed because they run at lower volts.

    You can see this sort of thing again and again throughout the technology industry, Coppermine (180nm) -> Tualatin(130nm), GeForce 7800 -> 7900, G80 -> G92, etc., etc.

    If you were to compare say, a GTX280 to a 8800 GTX and say the former draws much more power than the 8800 GTX, AND it's produced on a smaller process - well, yes, but that's because they've clocked it higher and there are far more transistors (twice as many, in fact).
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, February 12, 2009 - link

    That's because every time they shrink the chips they pack in new features and push the clock speed to the bleeding edge. If all they did was die shrink the old tech, we'd all be running something like an Atom CPU right now. Atoms closely resemble Pentium 3s, but on modern manufacturing only draw what? 5 watts? Reply
  • V3ctorPT - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    The GPU's run hotter, because they pack double the transistors with a new shrink, than their previous HW... Reduction of the manufacturing process enables that we can have so much more transistors in the same place, of course it gets hot... Reply
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - link

    I think you need to re-read the manufacturing roadmap page. It details the leakage gain (heat). Reply

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