Although prior Intel roadmaps did not mention Core i7 processors faster than the existing 3.2-GHz 965 Extreme Edition, the chip maker finally decided to introduce two faster models in the second quarter of this year.
Core i7 at 3.33 GHz Coming
Core i7-975 Extreme will be the company's flagship desktop processor for the upcoming months, delivering slightly increased performance thanks to a clock speed of 3.33 GHz. This equals a 4.2% clock speed increase when compared to the existing 3.2 GHz model. It is probably not really worth it, as we expect the price of this premium product to remain at $999.
However, the regular Core i7 product line will also receive a speed bump. The Core i7-950 will close the gap between the 2.93 GHz Core i7-940 processor and the Core i7-965 Extreme edition, providing a 3.06 GHz clock speed. All of the mentioned Core i7 processors are based on Intel's Nehalem architecture that is manufactured using the mature 45-nm process. They all require the X58 chipset and socket LGA1366, and they all come with 256 KB L2 cache per core and an additional, shared 8 MB L3 cache. No changes have been made to the power ratings, as all Core i7 processors remain at a TDP of 130 W, although the entry level models certainly stay well below that.
Havendale is History, Clarkdale Coming Up On Time
The latest Intel roadmap also says that the firm is on track to ship first 32-nm CPUs in the fourth quarter of 2009, which it says will be Clarkdale processors with integrated graphics. Havendale, which should have been the first product with integrated graphics, disappeared. Apparently, the Clarkdale multi chip package will consist of the 32-nm CPU paired with a 45-nm graphics unit. Clarkdale will be drop-in compatible with the 45-nm Lynnfield processor - both require the new socket LGA1156 and one of the upcoming 5-series chipsets (P55, P57). These differ from the existing chipset families by being a two-chip solution, which has the potential to lower cost and increase energy efficiency.