i7Intel held its annual INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM (IDF) last week. One of the highlights of the event was the keynote speaker, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. Mr. Gelsinger discussed the new features of the company's next-generation processor family including a new turbo mode that shifts the processor into a higher gear for mind-blowing performance without a heat penalty.

The company's first desktop PC chips branded Intel® Core™ i7 processors and initial energy-efficient, high-performance server products (codenamed "Nehalem-EP") will be first to production. Intel is also planning to manufacture a second server derivative designed for the expandable sever market ("Nehalem-EX"), and desktop ("Havendale" and "Lynnfield") and mobile ("Auburndale" and "Clarksfield") client versions in the second half of 2009.

"Our engineers have put together an incredible processing family here that will include a tremendous amount of new processor features all centered on delivering faster computer performance and terrific energy efficiency," Gelsinger said.

The next-generation Core microarchitecture also features Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology* delivering up to 8-threaded performance capability on 4 cores in the initial versions and best-in-class memory bandwidth thanks to the new QuickPath Interconnect. QuickPath is a technology that connects processors, chipsets and memory together, and delivers up to three times the memory bandwidth of previous generation Core microarchitecture solutions.

Gelsinger gave an overview of the new Intel Xeon processor X7460 with 6 cores and 16MB L3 cache for expandable servers. This new class of Xeon processor will be launching in September and has already broken multiple performance world records. An 8-socket IBM System x* 3950 M2 server became the first platform to break the 1 million tpmC barrier on the TPC*-C benchmark. New 4-Socket performance records include TPC*-C on HP Proliant* DL580 G5, TPC*-E on Dell PowerEdge* R900, SPECjbb*2005 on Sun Fire* X4450 and SPECint*_rate2006 on Fujitsu-Siemens PRIMERGY* RX600 S4.

Gelsinger also discussed the industry's first many-core Intel Architecture (IA) based design, codenamed "Larrabee." Expected in 2009 or 2010, the first product based on Larrabee will target the personal computer graphics market, support DirectX and OpenGL, and run today's games and programs. Larrabee is expected to kick start an industry-wide effort to create and optimize software for the dozens, hundreds and thousands of cores expected to power future computers.