Intel has been well-deserving of respect in the PC hardware industry since the introduction of the first Core microarchitecture, and their new Nehalem (Core i7) processors continue the trend of high performance that Intel has established. The Core i7 processors are a significant release, especially important to those working in video editing, video encoding, and 3D rendering.
Although most people are looking forward to the Intel Nehalem CPUs, an upgrade that maintains the mPGA604 socket platform is very attractive for many in the server space. Additional cores and performance tweaks can have a significant impact with server operations.
Intel’s Xeon 74xx series processors, formerly known as Dunnington, pack a mighty benefit in just moving up from a quad-core processor to hex-core solution, having six cores on a single die. However, the enormous 12MB to 16MB L3 cache also helps to ensure all six cores can access high performance main memory a lot more effectively. The massive L3 also limits the “cache syncing” traffic required between CPUs, which has been an important bottleneck for prior Intel server platforms.
Boasting a 10% to 20+% performance increase per core, two additional cores per CPU package, and an easy upgrade path that only requires a BIOS update, the newest Xeon 7460 is certainly worth consideration for those that would prefer a simple upgrade for now.
Intel is now shipping a dual-core model of the widely popular Atom netbook processor. The processor is ideally suited for netbooks, meeting both the low cost and low power requirements needed for the netbook market. The new Intel Atom Processor 330 runs at 1.6GHz, offers 1MB of L2 cache, and has an 8W TDP. The processor also utilizes the very affordable DDR2 667 RAM. Intel’s Atom 330 ships as an integrated package, with the Intel 945GC Express chipset. The chipset features the integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950 and Intel High Definition Audio solutions.
Intel has made a big splash into the SSD market. Today the company officially announced the X25-E Extreme SATA SSD. The drive boasts up to 250MB/sustained read, 170MB/s sustained write, 35,000 IOPS read, and 3,300 IOPS write performance. A mainstream model has also been announced with lower write speeds. The SSD also offers a <1ms random access time. This new drive is the fastest SSD currently on the market. With a max 80GB capacity, the SSD also offers a good capacity range for SSDs.