Getting to the Core — Intel’s new flagship client brand


Nehalem. A small town along a river by the same name in Oregon, and also code-name for Intel’s next generation microarchitecture. Today Intel announced that upcoming products based on this new architecture will officially be called Intel® Core™ processors. Will Nehalem fade away as a code name? Probably not right away. But over time, if you want all the goodness that Nehalem represents, think Intel Core processor.

Speaking of goodness, a fair amount is known about Intel’s new microarchitecture, but not all technical details have been revealved. Expect to see and hear more about the new architecture and the upcoming Intel Core processors at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco August 19-21. Keep a close eye on Pat Gelsinger’s keynote speech on August 19.

The first products in this new family of processors, which will be in production in Q4 and feature a unique mix of performance and energy efficiency, will also carry a new identifier and be formally branded the Intel® Core™ i7 processor. Believe it or not, this new naming scheme should make it easier for PC buyers to decide which technology is right for them. The “i7” identifier is the first of several new identifiers to come as different Nehalem-based products launch over the next year.

So the Intel Core processor will become the foundation, the primary client brand going forward, with individual identifiers distinquishing different features and capabilities with the family of processors. Watch this space for more details…

84 thoughts on “Getting to the Core — Intel’s new flagship client brand

  1. This is exciting. I can’t wait to be the first to have one of these bad boys in my computer. That way, I can really surf the web quickly! Forget the games; super web surfing is what I’m all about!!!

  2. cant wait for it. it will be one crazy machine plus he new motherboard the x58 board. i want to be 1 of the first to get 1 of these, and the new logo’s look crazy good.

  3. Scott, i7 does not have any special meaning per se (after all Nehalem is 4 cores and 8 threads!). So think of i7 as somewhat of a generic identifier for now (there will be other identifiers to come that will make it more clear). It is a way separating the new and improved high end desktop processor brand from other existing brands. It represents a collection of factors and highlights unique attributes of the particular product in the family of processors, including performance and other features.

  4. Andre, the Intel Core i7 processor will use a new LGA 1366 pin socket. This supports the HUGE (as my colleague George Alfs likes to say) memory bandwidth of the i7. These chips are going to be awesome for digital media creation, multi-application workloads, and heavy-duty gaming. Remember, i7 is only the first identifier in the Intel Core Processor family, noting the highest performing desktop processors in the family. There will be others to come highlighting unique attributes of individual products in individual segments.

  5. Hyper-Threading on a revised Core 2… Do they come with folding programs? 99% of users will waste the power of their processors on facebook. At least give them something usefull to do.

  6. Great. I cant wait for this processors release.
    Can any one tell me whether it will be better to wait and buy this or buy Intel QX9770 Extreme!

  7. Hey Bill, I’m an average computer user and try to keep my PC up-to-date. What will these new processors mean to the average home user?

  8. Franics,
    Don’t look at Nehalem as a revised Core 2 processor. It’s an entirely new dynamic architecture, scalable from 2 to 8 cores, with two way simultaneous multi-threading and massive bandwidth. For many of today’s applications as well as future ones, you’ll see better performance all around.
    If you want a simple machine for Facebook, or something just for browsing and web-based email, look at some of the latest Intel Atom processor-based netbooks coming from several manufacturers. Folding programs are available on the net broadly, we don’t distribute them with our processors.

  9. Maybe Celeron name is going away and will be named Core i5 or something to that effect. If so I think the new naming scheme makes sense.

  10. The Nehalem is already showing a performance increase of around 20% over the latest INTEL QUAD CORE EXTREME QX9770. Wait FOR THIS THING AND IT WILL BLOW AWAY EVERYTHING.Also this is a major architectural change over the current league of microprocessors.So wait for end of 2008

  11. Bill –
    When do you expect to see the Core i7 CPU’s on the market (retail)? I was planning on a new build with an E8500 and X48 board, but would be willing to wait a month or two for these new CPU’s, especially if I can pick up an X58 motherboard for it. What do you think? Thanks!

  12. Jake, the new Core i7’s will be in production later this year but we havent announced officially when they will be available. As always, it’s a tough call whether to wait…but typically when we go into production we are getting closer….

  13. Is it worth getting a Q9550 now that the price of them has come down a load or should I wait for the i7? I take it when the i7 dropps it’ll cost a bomb and also be hard to get for a while due to shortages?

  14. like the above question Tim, a tough call and prices are very good right now on the Q9550. I wouldnt automatically assume the i7 will be hard to get when it comes out.

  15. Maybe there won’t be shortages but it just seems so fashionable with companies these days to have them…cant’t help thinking that half the time it is intentional.

  16. Hi,
    Is there any specific review that shows how i7 will give 20 % more performance then QX9770 ? Where is the link please ? Also how will it affect games such as the monster named Crysis ? Will it future proof a gamer like me looking forwards to Doom 4 particularly when I am planning to build a new gaming PC within next 6 monts? Cheers

  17. what is the projected speed for the initial release on the quad core version of the i7? if multiple will be released at once what will be the highest? also is there going to be another big increase to the FSB?

  18. Jacob, the initial launch speeds for the i7 will be as high as 3GHz (along with other speeds). There is no FSB on i7, the architecture features a Quick Path Interconnect link direct to the chipset. Memory traffic doesn’t pass over it, it has its own bus to the CPU.

  19. kudos to you at Intel for making your company more accessible to the consumer with these blogs. The i7 looks stunning, are you guys still on track for a 2008 release?

  20. Actually, I don’t think it will be as tough to acquire one as Bill said. A lot of tech savvy users I know who work in IT don’t know about the i7. They like their quad core extreme as the best out there atm. Also, I don’t see a scramble for LGA 1366 motherboard production.

  21. Hi Bill…
    do you confirm that we will have 2 different sockets
    1160 mainstream
    1366 highend/extreme.
    If so, do the upcoming cpus belong to the 1366 socket??
    thanks in advance

  22. If the memory has a direct link to the processor, and there is no memory traffic on the chipset, then how do devices use DMA?
    Is it all routed through the processor (defeats the point really) or does the chipset have a QuickPath link too?

  23. Bill,
    You mentionned an i7 with 8 cores (16 threads) coming up.
    Will that be for a desktop platform or server platform? also will it be part of the extreme edition?

  24. Bill,
    I also forgot to ask about the “software” threads. While using virtualization, will the 8 threads be considered as 8 cpu’s? in other words, how much performance loss do u expect compared to a real 8 core machine?

  25. I second Ronald’s question regarding SMT and it’s effect on virtualisation! Very interested to see how hypervisors utilise the threads vs cores.

  26. answering a few of the questions raised by a few posters:
    Yes there will be two different sockets (1166 and 1366); initial i7’s will have the 1366 socket.
    As for when these processors will be manufactured on Intel’s next generation manufacturing technology (32nm): Intel has not announced a specific date per se, but 32nm production is expected to begin sometime in the second half of 2009.
    And Danny, if an Intel competitor ruled they’d at least be on 45nm by now….

  27. dave,
    nVidia announced back in July that SLI would be compatible with the Nehalem platform. Several stories and posts out there on this matter, search sli and nehalem and nvidia.

  28. ronald,
    The initial i7 processors are desktop processors, including an Extreme Edition version. These processors will have 4 cores and 8 threads. As for virtualization, we havent discussed specific performance and/or details on how hypervisors use the threads, etc.

  29. Hi Bill. Will the LGA1366 motherboard come into retail together with the Core i7? I was hoping to buy a new whole system in one fell swoop~ yieehaa!!!

  30. How will the Core i7’s effect pricing? Allow me to explain. Currently, a 2.8 quad core Penryn sells for around $350 retail. According to rumors, the Core i7 2.6 will sell for $250 for large orders. I’m guessing $350-400 retail. Rumors have it that the Core i7 still blows away the extreme editions even at lower clocks. Why would anyone buy a new system with a Penryn? How much will PC makers lower the prices on their Penryn-based PC’s compared to Core i7’s? They have to lower their prices by a large margin or risk having a whole bunch of PC’s stuck in warehouse.

  31. Hi Bill it’ always me 🙂
    Do you think (just as you personal consideration) that an 965 i7 would cost lots more than a Q9650?? (that now it’s arounf 500 € euros in Italy)

  32. Hi Bill,
    How much do you think this will increase your lead over AMD by? Do you think AMD will put up a good competition seeing as it can barely keep up with the current Core 2 Duo’s and Quads out there? If this i7 really blows away whatever is on the market at the moment, do you agree that AMD has one heck of a job getting back at Intel?

  33. Obviously I can’t comment on actual performance of the i7 until the products are actually announced, but Intel does have the performance lead today and we believe we will continue to have the performance lead going forward with our Core family of products. This is a very competitive business and always has been.

  34. Hi Bill,
    Is the i7 considered to be the performance version of the processors and will you be launching a mainstream version this year as well? I just watched Iron Man so I’m really in the mood for some awesome computing!

  35. this has always been the challenge of Moore’s Law–buy now or wait. It’s really up to you but you cannot go wrong with an i7 purchase as soon as the systems become available. The i7 is going to really provide an outstanding balance of performance and energy efficiency, owing both to the design itself and the 45nm process we use to build them. When we start production on 32nm (not 35nm) in 2009, a majority of processors will still be made on 45nm so its not like 45nm just disappears. Will 32nm make all the Core family processors better, faster? Sure, but you cannot go wrong with 45nm and it will be a while before 32nm proliferates throughout the product lines.

  36. Hello “Bill”?
    This is first place that came up on my google search for info on i7, just wondering what kind of performance increase would you estimate that I’d see over my archaic P4 2.6?
    I read somewhere (here) that these new processors and motherboards are coming out Q4, is that correct?
    Thanks in advance.

  37. Hi Bill
    As i7 isn’t really aimed at gamers do you think that waiting for a i7 (2.66 GHz) will give any tangible benefit to frame rates in todays games over a similarly clocked Penryn all other things being equal.
    Especially World of Warcraft, I am about to build a new box (still on a p4 prescott lol) but am wondering whether increased memory bandwidth on i7 is better for frame rates vs having a larger level 2 cache on Penryn. i.e. is 12MB l2 cache going to be better for gaming fps vs having 8Mb Level 3 cache?

  38. On performance, of course that will vary depending on what application, memory, etc. Compared to your Pentium 4 however, I would venture to guess you would see some pretty dramatic and noticable differences. The i7 is four cores with 2-way simultaneous multi-threading and a new feature we’re calling Intel Turbo Boost Technology which dynamically scales processor frequency higher when applications demand it, yet also delivers seamless power scalability. That means the best of both world’s, a balance between great performance and energy efficiency. Nothing like this existed for the Pentium 4, and this is an entirely new architecture.
    We’ve said only that the new i7 processors would be in production in Q4, have not announced a specific launch date or when systems would be available but soon…

  39. Ed, actually the first Core i7 processors will be awesome for both gamers and content creators. The i7 will give you much better overall performance over current Intel based processors which already are the highest performance on the market. You’ll get faster computing, better media playback, faster video decode/encode, etc. Certainly the increased memory bandwidth will help on bandwidth intensive applications, but higher frame rates, especially on games like World of Warcraft, already play back great on systems that have both good processors and good graphics. But the two are not mutually exclusive, you need the higher end processor to let whatever graphics card you chose reach it’s full potential for more demanding games. The Core i7 is going to give you the best overall performance and with a good discrete graphics card, gaming performance on more advanced games will far surpass a Penryn-based system.

  40. This is all good news!! I was looking at the Xeon X5482 and the QX9770 to put into a system for real time trading – needs to be ultra quick because of the speed/fluctuations in price of data the stock market delivers every fraction of a second – now I read about this brilliant new i7. Please tell me what I need to understand in order to choose between them-assuming the price is not an issue??
    Thank you

  41. Greg, classic dilemma to be sure, buy now or wait, and trying to compare the Xeon X5482 with the QX9770 for your needs—yikes, makes my head hurt. I know performance has always been critical with traders but with the market going the way its going I can see why you want the latest and fastest thing out there.
    The Xeon is of course more for enterprise server/infrastructure applications; outstanding performance but maybe not exactly what you need. The QX9770 is a screaming fast chip–fastest desktop processor available today—and one that outperforms any other desktop processor out there.
    Bottom line, you cant go wrong with either of these. Both are manufactured on our latest 45nm Hi-K Metal Gate process technology. But there will always be something faster in the future, its the reality of Moore’s Law. While I dont know exactly all of your system requirements, one thing to consider is the Core i7’s massive memory bandwidth. The new architecture features a high-performance integrated memory controller and a feature called Quick Path Interconnect which allow for highly scalable bandwidth in memory bandwidth intensive applications.

  42. Ahh this has got me nervous, i was about to splash on a Q9400 and a high end motherboard but now im not so sure. Again another ‘wait or not’ consumer. Computer components in australia are fairly expensive and i would hate to splash a fair amount of money on a high end computer and have it be useless in 6-12 months.
    Bill, would the i7 be an advantage for 3D modelling (engineering)? What would the expected price be, i no this is hard with blow-outs in manufacturing costs etc. Or what range in the market are intel looking at?

  43. Nathan, I cant comment on specific pricing yet but I think you might be pleasantly surprised depending on what level of performance you need. Sure, highest and best performing Extreme Edition Core i7’s will be well, higher, but there will be other sku’s as well. In your case, it is close enough to launch now (next month), I might say wait. You cannot go wrong with the 9400 though if you want it right now, and remember pricing will get better for the (only slightly) older technologies as new comes on…

  44. Bill,
    Great thread. I currently have an AMD dual core processor (boo!). I think it’s a 2.3 GHz Athalon. I want to be able to edit AVCHD home videos. My computer can’t handle it well now. It can’t even play AVCHD files without jumping.
    Do you know if the new X58/i7/DDR3 computers will be able to handle this much better? Will they be able to play 1080i AVCHD videos like I’m watching a blu-ray movie on tv?
    Having multiple logical processors is great when running simultaneous apps, but will single threaded 32 bit applications see much improvement in performance with the added logical processors? Or will the performance difference mainly apply to apps specifically compiled to use multiple parallel threads?

  45. charlie,
    no question that an i7 will outperform the 2.3Ghz Athlon especially when editing and playing AVCHD files. As for playing 1080i AVCHD like you are watching Blu-Ray, having a hardware acceleration in your graphics solution for a high end computer is recommened but absolutely it should. Both single threaded and multi-threaded applications will be better on Core i7 with this new feature we are calling Intel Turbo Boost Technology.

  46. This is very amazing and new technology and I’m sure it will be great, but not needed for todays application unless you are trying to find the end of pi. Most quad and even dual cores are enough to run the newest games and applications.

  47. The thing that is very surprising to me is that AMD came out with the 1207 pin “quadfather” and claimed it was the future of desktop computing…then they changed all that and left everyone that trusted them in then dark by NOT going with that for the OCTA cores they promised we AMD people would be able to take advantage of for a HUGE boost over current quad core intel Boards..
    THEN all of a sudden INtel comes up with this NEW i7 which in fact is the very thing that AMD dropped while trying to chase INTEL.. basically INTEL has no backtracked into an IDEA that would have put AMD with far more powerful systems at even cheaper prices at that time.. and made AMD go back to the drawing board and try to follow INTEL into the 45nm archectecture while INTEL has flambasted AMD into buying into the hype and NOW INTEL WILL COME OUT WITH SOMETHING THAT WILL BE OCTA sooner then amd …. well at least with far more power… if AMD had of stayed with their QUADFATHER direct connect archetecture and just went forward with that they would be far ahead of intel right NOW and intel would be trying to figure out how to make a far better Desktop then AMD.. but AMD swallowed the SCARY intel pill and bought into the fact that people would rather buy 0ne processor for 1,000 dollars then by 2 processors that are stronger for 900.00 with the future to buy two more processors for their current board at 1,000.00 a piece when intel comes out with the same thing… its about CORES.. not CPUS!!! i dont care how many processors are in my PC and i dont care how many cores.. what i and every other consumer cares about is …… PERFORMANCE AND PRICE…. period!!!! and AMD could have had BOTH if they had only stuck with the Direct connect architecture.. we would have TWO of those AMD 9550’s running in our L1N64 WS SLI motherboards and would be tearing the pants off INTEL.. but AMD folded the idea and crewed themselves.. NOW they are CHASING intel right into what they ALREADY did 2 years ago……….. and that is……. TURNED SERVERBOARD technology into desktop technology!!!!!

  48. Hi
    im a little confused guys, will this new i7 core be faster and better than the current quad extreme cores? ie the qx9775? or will there be a similar i7 extreme or equivilent at some point? Thanks

  49. Hi
    Will Intel Core i7 lauch worldwidely.(in india also)or only in U.S. , becuase i am planning to buy a new gaming pc till Feb 2009.

  50. Bill back on Oct 10 you stated that the Core i7 will be awesome for gamers with the right video/memory, now will this i7 unleash the true power of a current game or will patches/drivers be called for, I guess new games after will be ramped for the i7 or again will it be up to each software title/hardware vender to make the i7 work in it’s favor?

  51. There will be an extreme edition of Core i7 available this month, and they will outperform anything out there today. Technical reviewers have been testing the systems and I think we’ll see some of those reviews shortly.
    Oldman, no patches or drivers will be needed to get the most out of your games but you are correct in that over time the advantages will get better as software vendors take advantage of the new archiecture.

  52. Hey everybody, there are a bunch of Core i7 reviews coming out today. Check your favorite review site, but TG Daily, Extreme Tech, CNET, and more all have reviews. It’s looking pretty good and some of you who have been waiting and watching….these may help you decide.

  53. Bill can i ask why intel has decided to release two different sockets (1166 Vs 1366) and why should i purchase one over the other?
    Cheers, nathan

  54. How quickly can we expect to see third party companies, like eVGA, put out Motherboards that support i7? I was thinking of upgrading to a DDR3 based system but now I’m wondering if I should wait a few months and buy an i7, new MoBo, and RAM.

  55. Now that they are released Bill, when will motherboards start swictching to this “socket” size? and when do you thing they will drop in price? Or are they making more cheaper, mainstream processors that can still handle anything?

  56. You will see both for the time being. As for pricing on these processors, note that one of the brand new Core i7’s we launched today, the Core i7-920 running at 2.6GHz, is selling for $284, a great value for the latest technology.

  57. When will Intel release media series board with integrated graphics to support the i7 processor . I like energy efficient systems, not to waste power on graphic cards.

  58. Nitkin, We expect to be in production on integrated graphics with Nehalem in the 2nd half of 2009. We’ll integrate graphics into our mainstream desktop and mobile processors and eventually Intel and industry motherboards will support these products.

  59. Right, we integrate into the processor. As far as performance is concerned, stay tuned but just like everything around here (and Moore’s Law generally) you can expect continuous improvement. Graphics and graphics performance is clearly a key vector for us, so watch this space.

  60. Before some years we were using processors made up of transistors having the size in micrometers , now in nanometers, after some years in some hundreds of picometres , and next , we can’t make them smaller than atoms.
    We will have to increase the size of processors and large sized computers in future as we had in past . Or look for new technology . I’m i right !

  61. I can’t wait for this. I’m getting one in a Packard Bell iPower X9920 with a nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX+. IT WILL BE AWESOME.

  62. Bill – Will the Core i7 have 2 different sockets going forward, or is the original 1366 socket going to go away once you start producing the 1166? That is, if I buy a 1366 now, will it become obsolete with no ability to ever upgrade the CPU in the future? Thanks.

  63. I believe the LGA 1366 will continue to as the server, workstation and high-end desktop platforms. The LGA 1166 will probably serve a range of desktop systems for years to come.

  64. very impressive! i believe it will be interesting to see what applications will come out when this is a standard pc processor…
    niktin, very true! but this processor is way ahead of its time! with 3.0+ghz, 4 core/8 threats, 8mb cache (whoa), and a “HUGE” bandwidth, this will be LIGHT SPEED FAST!
    kudos to intel for this powerful processor!

  65. I hear that there will be a new i5 chip and USB3 launched in 2009. When will this happen? I’m waiting for these changes to upgrade my 9 year old computer!

  66. 9yrs Graham !! Dont wait for later this year, go upgrade now !! Some killer deals out there on Core2 Duo Machines, or Core i7. Even some amazing prices on quad core these days.

  67. I really got a giggle out of the comment below. You can surf just as fast on a single core proc as an i7. Little thing called bandwidth and no processor will give you more.
    Aug 10 | Aaron B. said:
    This is exciting. I can’t wait to be the first to have one of these bad boys in my computer. That way, I can really surf the web quickly! Forget the games; super web surfing is what I’m all about!!!

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