Making its way around the Internet late last week was speculation of the official name for Intel’s future processor microarchitecture, currently codenamed Nehalem.
Nahalem is expected to be initially manufactured with a 45nm process and be available with two, four, or eight cores, for up to 731 million transistors in the quad core variant. A very exciting aspect of the new architecture is the new integrated memory controller, called the Intel QuickPath Interconnect, with DDR3 SDRAM support, which will eliminate the bottleneck that was the front side bus and which had been haunting Intel for years. This should result in a substantial performance increase despite Intel’s competition, AMD, having been using an integrated memory controller in their processors for years.
Another feature of Nahalem will be the re-introduction of Hyper-Threading technology, which was used previously in the Pentium 4 series of processors. Hyper-Threading allows a single core to run an adjacent virtual core, allowing for two threads per actual core, making for potential performance gains. With all the added performance of the upcoming Nahalem processors, power usage is not expected to rise much, providing for greater performance-per-watt efficiency.
Nehalem will come in variants for desktops, servers, and notebooks. The upcoming home desktop variant is codenamed Bloomfield and will use the new LGA1366 socket, making it incompatible with all previous generation motherboards.