Intel’s Core i7 Unleashed
In the world of micro processors, we consumers don’t have many options to choose from because two companies have dominated this market since 1969. In the competition between Intel and AMD, the two competing chip giants, Intel has been in the lead since 2006 when it created the Core 2 Duo platform. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Intel’s new platform, the Intel Core i7 on the X58 chipset, and discuss what exactly is different, why it’s the fastest commercial processor to date, and whether it’s worth the upgrade or not.
What’s New in i7
Core i7 (or just “i7” if you’re a true Nerd) has been greeted with excitement by the technology community as Intel’s first major innovation since Core 2 Duo, which was released over two years ago. The new processors will have 1366 pins, making them incompatible with Core 2 Duo and older platforms. Although the i7 is manufactured with the same 45nm technology as the Core 2 Duo, it has undergone many architectural changes.
According to Intel, one of the improvements is the introduction of an integrated memory controller. This will have a significant increase in the processors’ performance, especially in memory access. Also, this will allow the use of DDR3 memory that will run up to 1066MHz in triple channel. One unexpected change in the i7 is the return of Hyper-threading technology. Hyper-threading died with the Pentium 4, but its back as in the Core i7 line. Hyper-Threading will allow each core to work as two virtual cores on the software level, which will allow for more parallelism and an improvement in multitasking performance. This new platform has already been tested by on various occasions and according to tomshardware.com, the new processors are 16 percent faster than their Core2 Duo counterparts in a same clock speed comparison and 22 percent faster than AMD’s new Phenom II processors. This is a single processor comparison. When Intel releases a two processor i7 platform, we expect the already impressive performance difference to become even more substantial.
i7, to Buy or Not to Buy?
It is evident that Intel has created an incredible product with great selling potential. For all practical purposes, the i7 is far superior to the Core2 Duo, boasting significant performance improvements. However, there is only one chipset that supports it today, Intel’s x58, making i7 compatible motherboards expensive. If you need the horsepower, it makes sense to upgrade for the additional performance, but the extra cost will leave some consumers disinterested.
The next article in this series will discuss Supermicro’s motherboard solutions for the i7. We will talk about the new features available on all the new boards and why you may not want to wait to invest in the i7.
What are your biggest questions and concerns regarding the i7? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to help you out.