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Wed 19 Nov 2008 02:19 PM

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Intel unveils 'fastest chips on the planet'

Intel launches performance Core i7 processors for high end consumers

Intel officially launched its ‘Nehalem’ micro-architecture-based Core i7 line of central processing units (CPUs) yesterday, releasing what it claims are the world’s fastest processors.

The CPU family, which was launched globally yesterday, includes features such as Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading to improve performance on intensive tasks like games and multimedia.

“Today’s launch coincides with the global launch of the Core i7 processor, one of Intel’s most anticipated products. Intel has delivered the fastest desktop processor on Earth to the most demanding users on Earth, the ones who are using their PCs for video, gaming and music,” said Samir Al-Schamma, Intel’s general manager for the GCC region.

Three processors were launched; the 920, the 940 and the ultra-high-end 965 Extreme Edition. The 920 features a core clock frequency of 2.66GHz, the 940 a speed of 2.93GHz while the 965 runs at 3.2GHz. All three chips feature an on-die memory controller that’s triple-channel DDR3 memory compliant, 8Mbytes of L3 cache, use the new LGA1366 CPU socket and feature Intel’s new QuickPath interface. The latter replaces the traditional front side bus (FSB) used by the older Core 2 processor family.

The use of a new CPU socket makes the Core i7 family incompatible with older LGA775 motherboards, so users looking to upgrade will have to invest in a new motherboard using one of Intel’s new core-logic chipsets such as the X58.

All the chips also offer Hyper-Threading technology, which enables a core to run two threads rather than one. This effectively means that a dual-core chip can execute four threads, while a quad-core chip can execute eight threads. This technology was last seen on the older Pentium 4 processors and was not carried over to the Core family when it was launched.

The i7 family also features ‘Turbo Boost’ technology, which is designed to boost performance depending on the workload on the processor. The technology is able to overclock each core of the CPU individually to optimise performance. The chip family also includes power management technology, which allows the chip’s cores to go into ‘sleep’ states when not being used.

The 920, 940 and 965 Extreme Edition carry retail prices of $284, $562 and $999 respectively.

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