Inside the Nehalem: Intel's New Core i7 Microarchitecture
Last week was the final Intel Developer Form before the release of new Nehalem processor and with that expo came the final pieces of the hardware puzzle. The architecture has been explained and discussed since early 2007 in a general sense but last week we finally got the details on some key architectural improvements that help Nehalem stand out from both Intel's and AMD's current generation lineup.
Previous to this piece, I had written not one, not two but three rough draft analysis of the Nehalem core. (Here, here and here.) Some of what we cover today in this article will be a repeat of those details but even I could use a refresher course since the early March 2007 briefings.
Since introducing the "tick-tock" method of processor design several generations ago Intel has really impressed me with their ability to layout a roadmap years in advance and hit the dates and performance targets nearly dead on. The "tock" of this design mentality is a new microarchitecture (like Merom) while the "tick" is an upgraded process technology (like the move from 65nm to 45nm with Penryn). Nehalem will be the next "tock" on this scale followed by a 32nm reduced version called Westmere.
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