Lynnfield versus Nehalem: New vs. Old, who is a better pick?
: Which upgrade path would you choose: X58 or P55? Dan Snyder
: That’s a really good question. I think if you really want the ultimate performance; the two key differences when you go to the X58 are going to be the overclockability of the Extreme Editions, you know the Extremes are fully unlocked, you can tweak and pull all the knobs and triple channel memory. With P55, you have dual channel memory with X58 you have triple channel memory, so if you’re doing really high-end stuff, if you are wanting bleeding edge, you’re a hardcore gamer and you’re encoding a lot of high-definition video and you’re a 3D buff on the side and you’re doing Folding@home
you are going to have all that access to the triple channel memory. So that is some key performance on the memory bandwidth side of it. You’re going to have the full unlocked CPUs of the Extremes, the bandwidth of the higher end X58 and the X58 boards tend to be more robust in terms of features and all that. With all that being said, I mean P55 and Lynnfield is a phenomenal value and the reviews that came out at launch, especially on the i5 750 with overclockability and performance is absolutely great. So my thought is that Lynnfield for most users is going to be a fantastic upgrade. But if you really are on that bleeding edge of hardcore usages then the X58 is going to give you the ultimate in performance. We know the bleeding edge is a smaller part of the market. We’d love everyone in the world to buy that but I’m not going to go tell my uncle, who only does Facebook http://www.facebook.com
and email that he’s going to need Extreme Edition and X58. BSN*
: But on a personal level which chipset would you choose? Dan Snyder
: Honestly, I’m a little torn, because with Lynnfield you get cooler and quieter as well and I like very quiet systems at home. So, personally, on the other hand, I do a lot of high-end audio editing, I have a home music studio so I do Cubase
so with that you can take all the performance you can get. This question is really tricky - I’m actually going through this now because I’m building a new system. I’m probably going to go for the Extreme with the X58 for the maximum performance because the thermal solutions have gotten so good with noise levels that you can get a pretty fast system with low noise fans and stuff. But it’s really
tough call. With Lynnfield you’re going to get great power consumption, you got a 35 or 45 watts less in TDP [Thermal Design Power
] which is a huge, huge deal. You get more turbo upside with Lynnfield; you may see situations in lightly threaded applications where you are going to get more turbo upside and performance on Lynnfield than on the Bloomfield stuff. So I think that probably the big X58 and Bloomfield with the unlocked CPUs and overclockability as well as the triple channel memory is definitely best for the higher-end, more heavily multi-threaded apps, but if you’re applications aren’t as memory dependent and you’re not worried about overclocking then I would say for sure, without a doubt, choose Lynnfield.No Core i7 800 Extreme edition BSN*
: Will the i7 800 series include an unlocked Extreme Edition or is that reserved for the i7 900 series? Dan Snyder
: Yeah, that’s going to be an i7 Bloomfield only feature for now, but the whole nature of overclockability is kind of turned on its head because a third party, such as ASUS or GigaByte, puts all kinds of knobs. You know the overclockers always find a way to get around the specifications of a part to overclock it. If you can’t overclock the vclock you can overvoltage this or overclock the memory. So, good overclockers always find a way around the limits of a product’s specs. That being said, the Bloomfield i7 965, 975 are fantastic because they’re totally unlocked, you can totally play with all your knobs and bells and whistles and so that is the ultimate for flexibility in overclocking. But people are still getting gigahertz overclocks on air cooling with Lynnfield, that’s what we’re seeing on reviews. BSN*
: What do you consider the killer feature of Lynnfield? Dan Snyder
: I think that with Lynnfield, for the first time, you’ve got this processor where if you don’t have a threaded application, you’ve got turbo. So that’s great. Anyone that is whining about applications not being threaded, you’ve got turbo to help you out and if you’ve got a threaded application, you’ve got eight threads at your disposal. So Lynnfield’s big killer feature is that kind of adaptability. It adapts to the usage model and that’s the really cool feature. This has been covered pretty well but not as much as I think it could have.
Cold Bug or how Core i7 acquired a bug from the original AMD Phenom
With Core 2, Intel ruled the sub-zero world. Today, AMD doesn't have cold bug, while Intel defends it stance...
: About that cold bug [sub-zero cooling with Liquid Nitrogen, Dry Ice etc.]… Dan Snyder
: Well, you know, Francois’ [Francois Piednoel
, Intel Senior Performance Analyst] stance and my stance too, is when you’re operating product wildly out of its specs you can’t really call this a bug. The product is being run way
out of its specs, we want to get people away from calling this a bug and you don’t need to go down that low to get the best overclocking out of it. And my second thought is these wildly, way out there, liquid nitrogen overclocking numbers just end up confusing the market because it’s science lab scenarios. I mean if you do overclocking on air, OK I could see that or maybe water cooling getting maybe a gigahertz overclock, that I could see an enthusiast doing. But if you look at the market of people doing the liquid nitrogen and all that, I mean that is a handful
of guys. It’s like you can count them on your hands and your feet. Honestly, what I would say to that is if there’s limitations to reaching those temperatures, it’s way out of spec, it’s the realm of science lab environment of a few dozen people in the world that have access to that type of technology. Look how our products perform at stock speeds and it overclocks. I mean, I’ve seen our products in the benchmarks and you can’t touch them these days at stock speeds and mere mortal overclocking levels and that’s 99.9% usage of the products so that’s what I want to focus on. BSN*
: What are some of the key benefits resulting from the collaboration between Intel and Microsoft regard Windows 7? Dan Snyder
: I think the biggest thing, and you can talk to Microsoft, is the updated and improved scheduler. Win 7’s scheduler uses Hyper-Threading more intelligently and there’s this core parking feature that Francois can tell you a lot more about. We worked on scheduling of threads so that it schedules to the physical cores first and to virtual threads second after the cores have been exhausted. We worked to have better power management schemes and all kinds of stuff. BSN*
: How is the 32nm Westmere lithography coming along? What are some of the power and performances hurdles to be overcome or are being overcome? Dan Snyder
: We’re not disclosing that we’re overcoming all these hurdles or overcoming all these issues because our current products are so great. It isn’t like there are issues and problems we’ve got fix per se. It’s more of a continuous improvement. With 32nm, obviously you’re going down to lower thermals; you’re going to get more power efficiency. The biggest advantage of 32nm is you got more real estate on your processor package so this is where we’re integrating graphics and higher levels of integration so that there’s more value for your buck in that processor you’re buying. 32nm is a big real estate and integration story and performance and power efficiency as well for the next generation of Clarkdale and Arrandale products that will be out in 1Q 2010. BSN*
: What TDP can we look forward to in the Westmere iteration of Nehalem? Dan Snyder
: The TDP? We’re not disclosing the TDP range on that but I would venture to guess that it’s at least as power efficient as current products and Lynnfield are. So we’re going to move down to more mainstream levels, so usually when you go to lower end/mainstream you go to lower TDP and smaller form factor. But we’re not giving any definitive ranges or anything yet. BSN*
: What kind of performance can we expect of next-gen integrated graphics [Core i3-i5]? Can we expect to play Half Life 2 at playable framerates, say 30 FPS [frames per second] or better? Dan Snyder
: In the future, we’re going to disclose some performance numbers for integrated graphics. With a lot of the games it depends on what people mean by decent framerates or playable framerates. Is it 60? Is it a 100 FPS [frames per second]? Integrated graphics, the bottom line is though, even though with new integrated graphics being integrated into the processor is going to be much improved, it’s still not going to be positioned for the hardcore gamer. So we’ve never, ever stood up there and said we want you to run integrated graphics to the hardcore gamers. It’s almost like nVidia wants to say that [we advise integrated graphics for intense games and graphics intensive apps] but we [Intel] don’t. If you’re a hardcore gamer or even just a mainstream gamer…you know, more than the Sims [so, how do The Sims 2 or 3 look on G45 iGFX
? Not a pretty sight. Ed.] but not the crazy high-end stuff. Absolutely, go get a discrete graphics card. You can get great deals now; you can get extreme performance in a discrete graphics that you used to never be able to get. If you’re splitting hairs on whether integrated graphics will run this game or that game you’re probably someone that should buy a discrete graphics card and then not worry about it. BSN*
: Thank you for your time. Have a good evening. Dan Snyder
: Good interview; I liked the questions. Take care.Conclusion
All in all, Dan is one of cool heads inside Intel. In a long conversation, you could see how the company has a diversified path, focusing on developing CPUs, chipsets, Solid State Drives and diversifying in as many fields as possible. This resulted in massive profits coming out from outside the CPU division. Looking into the 32nm world, Core i3 [desktop] and Core i5 [notebook branding] should bring higher clocks for Intel integrated graphics, but even then, it is obvious that the company is investing heavily in getting Larrabee out the door, with iGFX team moving on to smarter things. We do take offense with Intel's stance on discrete graphics as "stuff for hardcore gamers", since real world showed that Intel's actual products choke in mainstream games such as The Sims 2 and 3, World of Warcraft and so on.
SSD department is a very exciting one and is looking to bring a lot of positive movement on the market, especially if the company keeps pushing products such as its joint-venture with Kingston on their 40GB Boot Drive
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