Intel Core i3 and i5 processors launched

Thursday 14th January 2010, 12:31:00 AM, written by Rys

Should I file this story under Consumer Graphics or Processor.....Consumer Graphics I think, since it's the addition of an IGP die to the CPU package that makes the numerous new dual-core Core i3 and Core i5 models special.  Based on Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture, the CPU die houses a 2 core Nehalem with HyperThreading (so 4 hardware threads per socket), with 256 KiB L2 each and a 4 MiB shared L3.

Due to the power consumption, Intel are playing a game of high CPU clocks and aggressive Turbo modes with the new SKUs -- speaking of which, has anyone noticed that the hot clocks of modern Intel processors are bare MHz away from hitting the 4 GHz barrier of the last generation.  Up to 3.73 GHz is possible from the 81 square millimetre, 32nm CPU die on the Core i5-670 model.  "Whoa", is the soft expletive you're looking for.

On the IGP package you've got a 12-unit GMA4-class graphics core at either 733 MHz or 900 MHz depending on model (if the number ends in a 1, you've got a 900 MHz part), 16-lane PCI Express Gen2 and a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller.  Note, then, that the memory controller isn't on the CPU die for these Nehalem chips, which is a distinct microarchitectural change from other Nehalem-based models higher up the food chain.

The graphics die is some 114 square millimetres and produced on Intel's 45nm process node, rather than the 32nm of the CPU die.  It gains some better video processing logic, with two display pipes capable of driving 2560x1600 displays, two HDMI outputs (not at that high resolution, but fully protected each with a unique HDCP key and with support for Deep Color), and nice support for modern audio presentation as well.

Video wise there's complete hardware acceleration for H.264, although no mention is made of which profile.  There's a change it's High Profile at high bitrate though, since most modern PC-level CE engines will do that now.

Prices start at $113 for the i3-530, and stop at $284 for the i5-670.  The notable i5-661 (900 MHz IGP) is a healthy $196.

As always, our very good friends at The Tech Report have the complete details, including word on the odd Pentium G6950 and the chipset-level bits including H55, H57 and G57.  Scott's analysis there is class leading, as always, and we encourage you to check it out.
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intel ± dual, core, hyperthreading, igp, nehalem

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