Intel Discusses Mobile Nehalem. Quad Core Notebooks Coming Next Month.
Laptopmag covers some of the announcements made at Intel's Developer's Forum. The general manager of Intel's Mobility Group Dadi Perlmutter discussed current and future Intel mobile processor technology. These products and features should find their way into Apple laptops over time.
First of all, Perlmutter revealed that high end notebooks with their latest chipsets can now support Quad Core configurations. Quad Core notebooks are currently in production and will be available in a month. Of course, this means that Apple could also support Quad Core configurations in their MacBook Pros. Although Apple's MacBook Pro has been rumored to be undergoing a revision in September, no rumors have pegged Quad Core computing as a feature.
One major focus of the talk was Intel's upcoming processor shift to Nehalem. The next generation mobile platform is known as "Calpella" and is said to make the current systems "pale in comparison". Intel detailed a new technology in the Nehalem processors called "Turbo Mode". Turbo Mode allows processors to turn off unused cores for improved power manangement.
"Turbo mode requires no operating system intervention. It is fully detected and managed by the hardware. If it has detected an idle core, it is able to reallocate that power budget to the other cores," Gelsinger said in an interview after his keynote.
Other changes include the integration of memory controller and the graphics core into the CPU for Nehalem-based laptops. This removes the need for an integrated graphics chipset and should boost graphics performance, though not to the same degree as a dedicated video hardware. Other enhancements are detailed by PCWorld:
With between two and eight cores, the speed of Nehalem chips will be enhanced with QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) technology, which integrates a memory controller and provides a faster pipe for chips and system components to communicate. Nehalem will support DDR3 memory and include shared 8M bytes of shared L3 cache for local cores to better execute threads. Each core will be able to execute two software threads simultaneously, so a server with eight processor cores could potentially run 16 threads simultaneously.
While the first version of Nehalem's server chips will arrive later this year, the mobile version of Nehalem will not be available until the second half of 2009.