Oracle OpenWorld: Intel's Otellini Drops Core i7 Hints

Otellini also seemed to clear up some confusion about when the first server chips based on the new Core i7 microarchitecture, codenamed Nehalem, would be made available. ChannelWeb reported in August that a DP server chip codenamed Gainestown could join the coming Extreme Core i7 desktop/workstation product as the first Nehalem-architecture devices to be released before year's end, but Otellini said Tuesday that the DP server chip would go into production "in the first quarter of 2009."

The Core i7 microarchitecture's most discussed change from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Intel's current Core products is the integration of the memory controller on the die, and the elimination of the Front Side Bus, which is replaced by Intel's QuickPath point-to-point processor interconnect on Core i7.

Paul Otellini

Core i7 advantages over current products that Intel has been touting include improved power management and virtualization capabilities, better parallelism, and enhanced algorithms and branch prediction capabilities. Intel also says its Quick Path memory controller architecture delivers "up to 25.6Gb/sec" of bandwidth per link on the DP server chip set for production in Q1 of 2009. Otellini also said Intel's new Itanium chip, codenamed Tukwila, "is ready" and "will ship in systems in the first half of 2009." The Intel chief said Tukwila will feature 200 billion transistors, the most ever on any microprocessor.

Intel last week released its first six-core processor, the $2,729, 2.13GHz Xeon L7455 server chip. Otellini said the new processor was "already breaking benchmarks" such as single-node SPECjAppServer 2004 on a Hewlett-Packard system.

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Otellini's keynote theme was "time" and how Intel is helping businesses use it more effectively. On that note, he talked up software-hardware collaborations with Intel's host, Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle, as well the chip giant's hand in innovations on Wall Street, in the health care industry, and with new Intel partner DreamWorks SKG.