Intel spent a lot of time talking about Nehalem a year ago, but not much time on Westmere. It's the tick to Nehalem's tock, or in other words, it's 32nm Nehalem.

Unlike previous die shrinks, we don't get larger caches with Westmere - Nehalem was already too big to begin with. Westmere keeps the same architecture, same cache sizes (or ratios) as Nehalem. It's all built using smaller 32nm transistors and on a smaller die. For the same core count, expect Westmere to be roughly half the size.

But the same core counts aren't what you're going to get. I included the table below in yesterday's Core i7 920XM preview:

Codename Market Cores Manufacturing Process
Bloomfield Desktop 4 45nm
Lynnfield Desktop 4 45nm
Clarkdale Desktop 2 32nm
Clarksfield Mobile 4 45nm
Arrandale Mobile 2 32nm

 

The Westmere products are Gulftown, Clarkdale and Arrandale. That's six, two and two cores. Lynnfield is the last quad-core on the roadmap for the foreseeable future.

We'll talk about Gulftown later, but the focus today is Clarkdale with a little Arrandale.

Meet the 'dales

Arrandale and Clarkdale are the first two Westmere family members you'll meet. Both are technically due out later this year, although we won't see large volumes (by Intel standards) until Q1 2010. Both Arrandale and Clarkdale are dual-core Westmere parts with on-package graphics. The only difference is that Arrandale is mobile while Clarkdale is desktop.


Arrandale running - Hyper Threading helps improve performance even in normal workloads

The desktop socket is LGA-1156, the same socket as Lynnfield. The mobile socket is mPGA-989, the same socket as Clarksfield.

P55 vs. H57 Chipsets
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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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