Intel's Nehalem-EP Dual-Core Chip Hides a Secret

Rob Williams

Staff member
From our front-page news:
During Intel's fall 2007 Developer Forum, a few cool new technologies were unveiled, including the much-hyped CPUs built using a 45nm process. During the same period of time, AMD also had a few unique announcements of their own, including the triple-core Phenom X3's, which were to come out a few months later. I clearly recall sitting in a San Francisco hotel when I first learned of it, and my first thought was, "What the...?"

Of course that was back then. After actually using an X3 chip, you can begin to understand why they are worthwhile, especially for the money. But when AMD first made their announcement, many people scoffed at how they were created. Essentially, an X3 chip is an X4 chip that didn't quite live up to its potential. So, one core is simply disabled and it's packaged as a Triple-Core. Simple enough.

Back to IDF '07. After Paul Otellini's keynote, he held a Q&A in another room in the Moscone Center, and when questioned about AMD's X3 chips, he said something to the effect of, "We'd rather release processors with working cores." That certainly got the point across. What's interesting about this now is something that AMD has caught.

When Intel released their server Nehalems a few weeks ago, they quietly unveiled the first-ever Dual-Core processor built on that microarchitecture. As AMD now points out, that Dual-Core is created from a Quad-Core, which means two cores had to be disabled. How exactly this works, I'm unsure, but given the fact that yields are a bit lower with the higher process, they may very-well wind up with a fair amount of faulty chips to make into Dual-Cores. I'm quite sure we won't be seeing a Triple-Core from Intel anytime soon, however.

There's another oddity, though. While AMD repositions their faulty Quad-Cores as faster Tri-Cores, Intel's Dual-Core E5502 is actually the slowest of the entire bunch. Figure that one out.

Intel publicly jeered AMD triple-core desktop processors with one core "defeatured," yet they are apparently "defeaturing" two cores for their new datacenter darling. Perhaps no one wrote this story because the press now "get it" that this is just good, smart business in making a complete product family from a monolithic quad-core. But let's just hope this remains a tri-lateral "agreement" honored by all involved parties: Intel, AMD, and the news media.

Source: AMD Unprocessed
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Tech Junkie
eenteresting how they keep pointing out stuff in each other's processor cores to prove themselves to be better!lol
Intel Lashes at AMD

AMD lashes back at Intel

Intel Lashes lashes back back at AMD

and so on!
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