Intel Romley 8-Core Sandy Bridge-E at CeBIT 2012
As people may or may not know, the Core i7-3000 chips are the workstation versions of the latest, high-end CPU line. Meanwhile, the Romley X79 will replace the X58 based Tylersberg chipset. There is one truly important detail about all the chips that will draw attention: the core count.
The best Core i7 SB-E chips so far unveiled have but 6 cores active. This is already more than enough for anything a desktop could possibly have to deal with. However, the architecture clearly has two extra cores that haven't, so far, been put to use, due to Intel's chosen TDP limit of 130W.
It is also worth noting that there are barely any consumer applications that can use six cores, much less eight. Professional systems are much more prone towards scenarios where it helps to have as many cores as possible, though. As such, there will definitely be 8-core Sandy Bridge-E processors by the time CeBIT 2012 is over. As a side note, the activation of the extra cores will lead to an extra 5MB of cache being enabled, leading to units with 20MB.
Add to that support for RAID0 and TRIM and there is little chance that anything will be able to challenge the Romley as the next best thing for professional systems. The Romley platform will support Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), something that will spell doom for many SAS controller chips and their makers.
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