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Nehalem Goes Mainstream

Mercury Research thinks the chips could entice people to upgrade

Intel’s Lynnfield chips, the widgets meant to drive its newfangled Nehalem architecture into the mainstream, arrived on Tuesday.

The new dumbed-down 45nm arrivals include three quad-core desktop devices officially designated the Core i5 750, i7 860 and i7 870 clocking 2.66GHz, 2.8GHz and 2.93GHz respectively and priced, respectively, at $196, $284 and $562 in quantity, the 800-series i7 being cheaper than the existing carriage trade i7 900-series, which starts at ~$280.

The difference between the 800-series and the 900-series rests with the width of the built-in memory interface and the amount of RAM throughput and the number of processing threads supported.

Mercury Research thinks the chips could entice people to upgrade.

Oh, yes, and let’s not forget the desktop’s P55 express chipset, which Intel claims incorporates “the most revolutionary design changes since the invention of the PCI bus in the early 1990s and sets the stage for Intel’s forthcoming 2010 compute platform.”

The chipset’s supposed to be “the baseline building block component for motherboards worldwide,” delivering new levels of performance and scalability.

The new Core i7 and i5 processors are the first Intel chips to integrate both a 16-lane PCI Express 2 graphics port and a two-channel memory controller so the chipset can handle all I/O and manageability functions. Previous Intel chipsets needed two separate chips.

That means that the new chipset supports multiple graphics cards, including Nvidia’s and AMD’s, but not the graphics bandwidth of the Bloomfield X58. It also means no upgrade path.

Intel also pushed out a half-dozen Xeon Nehalem chips running at 1.86GHz-2.93GHz and aimed at entry-level 1U servers e-mail, file, print, dynamic Web serving and classroom collaboration in schools and small businesses. They are priced at $189-$589 in quantity.

Intel claims that servers based on Xeon 3400 processors are more dependable than desktop systems because of their ECC memory and RAID 0/1/5/10. It says small businesses can grow because the widgetry enables up to 64% more sale transactions and up to 56% faster response time.

And making like a good citizen, Intel says all of the chips are lead- and halogen-free and fitted with its Turbo Boost Technology while the top-of-the-line Core i7 processors have the Intel Hyper-Threading the others lack.

Intel is supposed to start making mainstream 32nm chips by the end of the year.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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