Tidbits & Shockers @ Intel
We recently had the opportunity to eke some news out from the boys at Intel. We talked about upcoming stuff like Bearlake, DDR3 and future processors like Wolfdale and Penryn which will debut later this year. But the biggest shocker is what Intel intends to do about 3D graphics. Join us for some tidbits and shockers as we chew on the Intel grapevine.
Bearlake & DDR3
With the imminent debut of the new Bearlake (x3x) chipset on June 4, Intel will be aggressively pushing DDR3. The first series of Bearlake motherboards will offer DDR2 slots, but Intel wants to encourage a "quicker" transition to DDR3. So, expect DDR3 motherboards and DDR3 modules to debut early and in relative abundance too.
Memory manufacturers will all fall in line. After all, they are expected to continue losing money until the middle of next year, as far as DDR2 is concerned. What better way to improve profitability than to move to DDR3?
However, just how fast DDR3 picks up will depend on availability and more importantly, cost. No matter how hard Intel pushes, ultimately consumers will decide if the transition to DDR3 is worth the cost and hassle.
Wolfdale & Yorkfield
Intel's 45nm process and the Penryn family will debut in Q3 of this year with the release of the Wolfdale processor. The Wolfdale is the successor to the current Core 2 Duo (Conroe) processor. It will have two processor cores with 6MB of shared L2 cache and a 1.33GHz FSB.
The quad-core Yorkfield and the mobile Penryn processor will only debut in Q4, 2007 or Q1, 2008. The Yorkfield will be the Core 2 Extreme QX6700-equivalent of the Wolfdale processor. It will consist of two Wolfdale dies on a single processor, with two separate 6MB L2 cache and a 1.33GHz FSB.
Probably the most shocking news on the grapevine is the not-so-subtle hint that Intel will be a LOT more serious about 3D graphics. Although they may eventually offer discrete graphics solutions, like what NVIDIA and ATI are doing right now, they are actually looking to integrate the graphics circuitry within the processor itself!
Now, Intel is no stranger to integrated graphics. Their chipsets have always offered integrated graphics solutions, which have proven to be robust and functional, if nothing else. In fact, the new Graphics Media Acceleration X3100 was just launched for the new Centrino Duo and Centrino Pro platforms.
However, integrating graphics into the CPU itself is a totally different cup of tea. It will be a new feat for Intel and potential cause for concern for ATI and NVIDIA. Even if these CPUs cannot offer the same cutting-edge performance as the GeForce 8800 Ultra or the upcoming Radeon HD 2900 XT, they will still cut into the OEM graphics market which is where the big money lies.
We are unable to obtain much details on these CPUs with integrated graphics but our source did not refute the possibility that the graphics core might come with some very fast onboard RAM. It stands to reason though that the graphics core will make use of system RAM for most, if not all, of its framebuffer and texturing requirements.
These CPUs with integrated graphics will be manufactured on the 45nm process and will debut after Wolfdale is launched in Q3, 2007. So, we should expect Intel to possibly launch these CPUs in Q4, 2007 or Q1, 2008.
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