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Intel Finally Has a Real 4 GHz CPU

By - Source: Intel | B 72 comments

Intel has quietly introduced its first CPU that is capable of running at 4 GHz clock speed off the shelf.

An updated spec sheet reveals that the recently introduced Xeon E3-1290 runs at 3.6 GHz with four cores, but the chip's turbo boost will scale the clock speed to 4.0 GHz when running on only one core. What makes this processor particularly interesting is the fact that it is closely related to the i7-2000 Sandy Bridge series, which would indicate that Intel could be launching a 4 GHz desktop processor as well.

Intel pulled a single core 4 GHz processor back in October 2004 due to the increasingly high power consumption and current leakage in its 90 nm Netburst architecture. The highest clock speed reached by its Pentium family was 3.8 GHz, which was posted by its Pentium 4 HT 570/571 models, which were based on the 90 nm Prescott core. Back then Intel drastically changed its strategy from clock speed scaling to lower power processors that were largely based on technology introduced with the Banias Pentium M processor in 2003. That new strategy resulted in Intel's Core 2 Duo processors with Conroe core in 2006. With a look at power consumption, I should note that the Pentium 4 570 was rated at a thermal design power of 115 watts, while the E3-1290 runs at a maximum of 95 watts. The first dual-core processors, which were available up to 3.6 GHz (Pentium D 900 series), consumed as much as 130 watts.

There appear to be signs that both Intel and AMD are engaging in a careful gigahertz race again. AMD currently tops out at 3.7 GHz and we would expect its Zambezi desktop processors to easily reach 4 GHz later this year.

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  • 50 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 7, 2011 2:59 AM
    IMO its not a real 4ghz cpu if its only 4ghz turbo boost. False advertising.
  • 27 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 7, 2011 4:41 AM
    This is NOT A 4GHZ PROCESSOR!!! Don't even start feeding us that crap. If it doesn't run all the time (excluding power saving modes) at a solid 4ghz on all 4 of its cores then it doesn't count as a 4ghz chip. It's simply a temporary 4ghz overclock that disables 3/4 of the cores.

    News fail.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    vaughn2k , June 7, 2011 2:40 AM
    As long as the TDP stays below 95W, I'll go for it.
    Increase clock speed is still kinda cool...
  • 0 Hide
    EXT64 , June 7, 2011 2:49 AM
    Not really surprising, as SB can easily clock that high. I'd be a little surprised if they didn't eventually make a higher clocked model to replace the original (like i5 750 -> i5 760 and i7 920 -> i7 930).
  • 50 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 7, 2011 2:59 AM
    IMO its not a real 4ghz cpu if its only 4ghz turbo boost. False advertising.
  • 9 Hide
    Maximus_Delta , June 7, 2011 3:04 AM
    I doubt there is much changed at all with the chip, everybody knows the high-end SB series consumer market processors can happily run 4GHz on all 4 cores all day long with minimal voltage increase (and no need for especially eloborate cooling).
  • 25 Hide
    the1kingbob , June 7, 2011 3:25 AM
    Quote:
    but the chip's turbo boost will scale the clock speed to 4.0 GHz when running on only one core.


    I agree with iam2thecrow... It doesn't run at 4Ghz... It boost to that speed and according to article only when running 1 core.. so AMD at 3.6Ghz on Quad core..
    But to be honest.. Intels chip doesn't need to run at 4Ghz to destroy the X4 975... but you wouldn't catch me spending a grand on it... Go AMD :) 
  • 4 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 7, 2011 3:38 AM
    Intel won't bump desktop speeds until August or September. Not psychic but it seems logical since nothing comes close to what they have now and when bulldozer comes out they will bump clocks. Plus by then I would expect a new stepping to allow faster clocks in the same power envelope.
  • 9 Hide
    jsc , June 7, 2011 3:40 AM
    I agree. It is not a "real" 4 GHz CPU. But that is only because Intel hasn't chosen to make one.
  • 1 Hide
    captaincharisma , June 7, 2011 3:41 AM
    might only be on turbo boost but it is progress as far as Intel goes.
  • -5 Hide
    bit_user , June 7, 2011 4:19 AM
    Looks like it's finally time to upgrade my P4, this year! I know performance is about so much more than raw clock speed, but it just didn't feel right to replace my CPU with one running at a lower clock. Especially after so long.
  • 6 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , June 7, 2011 4:22 AM
    Out of all of the clever code names companies have used in the past and present, "Zambezi" is by far the best.


    "Yo bro, check out my Bezi". (Bee-Z)
  • -3 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , June 7, 2011 4:25 AM
    bit_userLooks like it's finally time to upgrade my P4, this year! I know performance is about so much more than raw clock speed, but it just didn't feel right to replace my CPU with one running at a lower clock. Especially after so long.

    What?


    You do know people have been nailing over 4GHz EASILY on many Intel chips with little to no effort.....that's just on air cooling.


    I mean, It's cool that they're releasing a potential 4Ghz chip, but how much overclocking headroom does this thing have? Will it push past the others, or did Intel just OC it themselves, knowing how effortlessly their chips are to OC.
  • -3 Hide
    bit_user , June 7, 2011 4:29 AM
    WhySoBluePandaBearWhat? You do know people have been nailing over 4GHz EASILY on many Intel chips with little to no effort.....that's just on air cooling.

    Yes, I was comparing stock to stock. I don't mess with OC.
  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , June 7, 2011 4:34 AM
    BTW, last Sept. IBM released a 5.2 GHz CPU. Search the news for z196. It sounds comparable, in complexity, to x86.

    I can't believe they still have a large enough market for those things to justify all the effort. If Intel put the same resources into Itanium, it might not be the butt of so many jokes.
  • 27 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 7, 2011 4:41 AM
    This is NOT A 4GHZ PROCESSOR!!! Don't even start feeding us that crap. If it doesn't run all the time (excluding power saving modes) at a solid 4ghz on all 4 of its cores then it doesn't count as a 4ghz chip. It's simply a temporary 4ghz overclock that disables 3/4 of the cores.

    News fail.
  • -1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 7, 2011 4:43 AM
    the1kingbobI agree with iam2thecrow... It doesn't run at 4Ghz... It boost to that speed and according to article only when running 1 core.. so AMD at 3.6Ghz on Quad core.. But to be honest.. Intels chip doesn't need to run at 4Ghz to destroy the X4 975... but you wouldn't catch me spending a grand on it... Go AMD


    You're right. You can beat the AMD with most mid range intels :p 
  • 7 Hide
    PowerHouse , June 7, 2011 4:52 AM
    The 4.40GHz Xeon X5698 has been shipping for a while. It is a dual-core Westmere.
  • -2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 7, 2011 4:52 AM
    Ugh, come on Intel just make us a CPU with higher clock speed. It's obvious that applications don't give a crap how many cores/threads are available and developers STILL aren't heading in that direction very well.
  • 11 Hide
    Yuka , June 7, 2011 5:09 AM
    I wonder if this is a form of response for the unknown-to-us performance of BD? Like in the P4-Athlon64 and Core2/i-PhII era: if you can't beat it with design, beat it with raw power, lol.

    Cheers!
  • 15 Hide
    alidan , June 7, 2011 5:10 AM
    bit_userLooks like it's finally time to upgrade my P4, this year! I know performance is about so much more than raw clock speed, but it just didn't feel right to replace my CPU with one running at a lower clock. Especially after so long.


    lol i remember when i thought that way too...
    than i built my little brother a quad core at 2.4 or 2.6ghz and it played a 1080p video with little to no preformace loss noticeable (p4 couldnt dream of that, and barely played 720p with optimized codecs)

    so when my computer kicked off, i got a phenom 955 black and cant BELIEVE i waited that long to upgrade...

    anyway when you do upgrade, you will be in for a treat.
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , June 7, 2011 5:14 AM
    JOSHSKORNUgh, come on Intel just make us a CPU with higher clock speed. It's obvious that applications don't give a crap how many cores/threads are available and developers STILL aren't heading in that direction very well.


    because not many programs need multi cores to run good. however most programs that do bennifit from it use it. to me, multi core just gives me more headroom to multitask, i dont have to close programs to work in new ones.
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