Intel Core i7 920 and 965 review -
4 - QPI and Triple Channel memory
Quickpath interconnect (QPI)
The first Core i7's will sport both the memory controller and system I/O integrated onto the CPU die and therefore eliminates the Intel Front Side Bus (FSB) altogether. In place of the FSB, one or more high speed, point-to-point buses called Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) are used, formerly known as Common Serial Bus or CSI. QPI features higher bandwidth than the traditional FSB and is better suited to system scaling. We quickly close one eye and hint you towards AMD. See, AMD's HyperTransport links are somewhat similar to what Intel is doing today. High-speed point-to-point inter-component or processor connectivity/communications. Intel was tied to the frontside bus that started to interfere with performance. The QPI architecture will allow Intel to connect tri- or even quad-channel memory directly to the the processor's integrated memory controller.
Intel has also added PCI Express links directly into the CPU die. This will for sure deliver much more bandwidth for high performance graphics cards and remove any bottleneck issues with other system components.
So you are asking how will that work in relation to say overclocking. Well, in fact it's still there, yet functioning in a different way. Imagine a single pumped FSB at 133 and apply a flexible multiplier on it, say with a range of 12 to 24. Depending on the workload the processor it will dynamically alter that multiplier. So in an idle state you'd see an effective 12x133Mhz = 1596 MHz processor clock frequency. This is how core i7 achieves it's clock. On full load a Core i7 965 processor would jump to 133MHz x 24mp = 3.2 GHz. Core i7 has two QPI (per CPU socket). For the future the number of QPI links can be increased or decreased if required for market demand. QPI is one of the new extendable building blocks of the Nehalem CPU architecture.
A new number you'll need to get used to, QPI uses up to 6400 MT/s links on the top-range products and as shown today on the 920/940 processor, a 4800 MT/ (million transfers per second).
Triple channel memory controller
With the coming of Core i7 you'll see on-CPU integrated memory controllers for DDR3 SDRAM with 1 to 3 -- 64-bit memory channels (physically four only three active though). You read it right, a tri-channel memory controller. Therefore total memory bus width goes up from 128 bits to 192 bits allowing a massive bandwidth increase as they ar no longer tied to the FSB.
Intel eliminated those "FSB brakes" by designing Nehalem's architecture to use 64-bit memory controllers which are connected directly with the processor's silicon. As a result this new design should bring a bandwidth utilization of as much as 90%, a nice jump from today's 50-60% utilization for sure. The new controller of course supports both registered (server market) and unregistered (consumer) memory DIMMs. The controller is fast ... very fast, and supports DDR3-800, DDR3-1066, DDR3-1333 JEDEC standards, yet has room for future scalability. The memory controller is able to handle 64GB/s, a full tri-channel DDR3-1333 implementation will only amount to 32GB/s maximum bandwidth utilization. Do the math and conclude that even DDR3-2000 will not max out the controller.
We'll actually try out some DDR3 2000 in triple-channel configuation in a lot of articles this week.
So then, three memory channels per processor, each channel supports a maximum of 3 DIMMs. Again do the math and a single processor can support a maximum of 9 memory slots. You are of course free to use one or two DIMMS, but for optimal performance, the minimum would however be three, one DIMM per channel. So depending on the motherboard class of use, the board can come configured with three, six or nine memory slots.
Here's a thought, - servers are generally often 2-way SMP systems and with two Core i7 class Xeon processors, the total memory slots supported will double to 18 :) Overall as our benchmark results will show, the memory bandwidth created here with triple-channel is nothing short of amazing.
We test the Gulftown based Core i7 980X. Intel launches the Core i7 980X processor today priced at US$ 999 in thousand-unit tray quantities. It's scrumptious, it's delicious. Really it overclocks brilliantly as well; it's dark demonic matter my man. Head on over to the next page where we'll start up a technical overview and then head onwards to an extensive benchmark session, and sure... we'll throw in an overclocking session as well. We've got a lot of ground to cover.
Alphacool HF 38 Niagara Intel Core i7 CPU water block review
There aren't that many companies out there that offer liquid cooling products which you can purchase separately. There's a handful of them. One of them is the German based Alphacool. Recently they introduced a new CPU block called the Alphacool HF 38 Niagara. This new water-block is designed for Socket 1366 processor, aka Nehalem aka Core i7. A high-end liquid cooling CPU block priced fairly. Let's check it out.
Intel Core i7 920 and 965 review
So today Intel launches these Nehalem based puppies on the new name Core i7 as in their 7th architectural generation. A name that will catch on quickly and you'll get used to just as quick as well. No less then three processors are announced today and Guru3D.com will taken a look at two of them.
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor review
See, a Core 2 Extreme X6800 is pretty much the fastest desktop processor in the world, yet adding two more cores gives you the absolute best of both worlds. Get the highest stock clock speed Intel offers for the best performance in lightly multithreaded (or single threaded) applications, and a total of four cores for those heavy multitasking or CPU intensive multithreaded scenarios. Really, you can't lose there now can you ?